Believe it or not, there are more than 400,000 units of cracked iPhones in China. This figure alone is morethan the legitimate iPhones that had been sold so far in the whole of Europe. In fact iPhones had been found in the gray market as early as July 2007 immediately it was launched in the US. Enterprising and creative businessmen saw this as an opportunity and had since been shipping in sizeable quantities into all parts of China. iPhones were priced as high as RMB 7,000-8,000 (US$ 970-1,110) initially. Now its about Rm4,500 (US$ 625) and its still selling like hotcakes.
Even though iPhone was never officially launched anyway in Asia, but you can almost find many people using here in China. I have bought 2 iPhones from the US and had since be happily using it in China. They are many people here who would love to get their hands on iPhone had it been priced more competitively and also minus the trouble of having to unblock them. I wonder why Apple had taken so long to sort out their business arrangement in China. It will definitely make more sense for Apple to have iPhone presence here as the market is ready from day 1 for a product like iPhone.
At the price of US$399 or RMB 2,873, Apple will floor almost all the mobile manufacturers in China especially in the smartphone segment. According to InStat China, 20% of handsets sold in China are priced above the RMB 4,000 bracket, ie, a potential 28 million mobile device market for iPhone. Apple could just single their advertising effort into this market and they will have accomplish their 10 million sales target for 2008.
If i were Steve, I will restrategise and start all over negotiating with China Mobile, I m sure there must be another way to tickle China Mobile. Surely China Mobile wants to increase its mobile internet usage or subscriber base, and iPhone has certainly proven this by increasing 50 times in terms of mobile internet traffic to Google. How about a deal with China Mobile on mobile music, iTunes has yet to find its way into China?
Device manufacturers should learn something from these data and how iPhone has changed the whole mobile design landscape. AT&T's CEO has called iPhone as a "Game Changer" and I strongly believe not only that it has changed the game but it has also started a whole new evolution in mobile internet creating an universe of many possibilities.