iPhone (sans Wi-Fi) launches in China

2 Nov 2009

More than two years after making its debut in the US, Apple’s iPhone has finally been officially launched in China, but the queues of eager customers encountered in the US and elsewhere around the world were nowhere to be seen – for several reasons.

Unlike the iPhone 3Gs on sale elsewhere around the globe, the iPhone has gone on sale in China without Wi-Fi connectivity due to government regulations. While an outright ban on Wi-Fi has since been retracted, the China-ready iPhone has already gone into production with this feature removed.

Grey-market effect

Another reason why the iPhone has had a lukewarm reception in China could be down to both the delay in launch and the subsequent burgeoning grey market, whereby plenty of iPhones complete with Wi-Fi connectivity have been trickling into the country since it went on sale in the US in 2007.

The price of the official iPhone, sold through China Unicom, could also been seen as prohibitive, with a price tag of between US$700 and S$1,000.

According to Computerworld, sales have been slow, with only 10 units sold on launch day Saturday, 31 October, at mainland China’s sole Apple store and a further single iPhone handset sold on the Sunday.

By Marie Boran

Photo: The iPhone 3G.