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China iPhone Sales Improve, Hit 100 000

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Apple iPhone 3GSBEIJING, China – The nightmare for China Unicom and Apple is over – the bad sales of the iconic iPhone have drastically improved, and reached 100 000 units. Previous news of sub-5 000 sales, and in some cases, five sales over a two-week period predicted a negative outcome for the smartphone’s sales.

The number of sales from a network which has over 170 million subscribers aren’t overwhelming, but are a large improvement over the number reported earlier. Major online store Taobao.com also reported low sales in the country, with only five iPhone units sold in the first two weeks.

In the US, over 270 000 units of the iPhone 3G were sold from its launch date, while more than one million 3GS units were sold from June this year, according to Dow Jones Newswires. A factor hindering official iPhone sales is the grey market in China, where Apple’s smartphones are understood to be sold at much lower prices. For example, a 32GB iPhone 3GS with no service contract costs 6,999 yuan (US$967) in┬áChina, compared to about US$800 in nearby Hong Kong.

China Unicom’s iPhone models do not feature Wi-Fi, an important component that is part of grey-stock iPhone handsets.

In neighbouring South Korea, the situation is far much better, with 60 000 iPhone units sold by KT, the network which holds exclusivity to the device.

[1 CNY = US$0.146444]

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By , Editor-in-Chief, Johannesburg office

Published on Dec 11th, 2009 GMT +2

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