Too pricey? The usual crowds were nowhere to be seen as the iPhone 5 went on sale in Beijing on Friday. (Photo/CNS)
The iPhone formally hits China's market on Friday, priced 23% higher than in the United States, reports the state-run China News Service.
Apple launched the latest version of its smartphone on Sept. 13 in the United States. In addition to the three-month wait, Apple fans in China will have to pay more for the new model, with the prices for the 16G, 32G and 64G versions at 5,288 yuan (US$845), 6,088 yuan (US$975) and 6,888 yuan (US$1,100), respectively, according to Apple's website. Telecom carriers China Unicom and China Telecom are offering more than 10 contract options for the smartphone.
Beijing Telecom, a branch of China Telecom, offers a 200-yuan (US$32) discount with a contract, while a number of stores are offering trade-ins on older models.
The higher price of iPhone 5 in China has triggered criticisms that the company is being greedy and taking advantage of a craze for Apple products in the country, which has witnessed a high school student steal and sell a family car to buy an iPhone, and a boy sell a kidney to illegal organ traders to buy an iPhone and iPad.
Apple's net profit for the iPhone have reached 55% in 2012, accounting for 65% of Apple's total profits in a year which has seen the company's stock rise to a record high despite fears that the Californian company might lose its creative cutting edge following the death of co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs last year.
A piece in the Chinese edition of Forbes recently quoted Jobs as saying that greed is the biggest threat to Apple's success, and indeed Apple is far from the only choice in an increasingly saturated smartphone market.
According to an IDC report for the third quarter of this year, Samsung occupied the top spot in the global smart devices market, with a 21.8% share, with Apple in second. Apple was in the lead in sales revenue, however, with US$34.1 billion.
China Unicom 中國聯通
China Telecom 中國電信