The launch of Apple’s iPhone 12 drew mixed reactions in mainland China on Wednesday, with fans rooting for a 5G model for their favorite brand, while others planned to wait for the next devices from local rivals such as Huawei.
Apple’s long-awaited launch comes on the heels of Chinese Android platform brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi, which have already launched next-gen 5G devices compatible with China’s updated telecom networks, with the US giant seen by some analysts as late. for launch. Party.
In its second largest market by revenue, Apple’s announcement was feverishly discussed on social media. With over 6 billion views, the ‘iPhone12’ tag was ranked No. 1 topic on Weibo similar to China’s Twitter.
Asked whether they would buy the new iPhone, which will give Apple users 5G access in a market where such networks are already widespread, respondents to a survey by Caijing magazine were almost evenly divided: about 10,000 voted no, 9,269 said yes and little another 5,400 said they were still considering it.
Available to order in China from 16 October, the iPhone 12 will cost CNY 5,499 (approximately Rs. 60,000) for a ‘mini’ version, coming in at CNY 11,899 (approximately Rs. 1,30,000) for the top of the range.
That price was also a hot topic, with many complaining that it was too expensive. “How is it so expensive even without a power charger or headphones?” said one commenter, referring to Apple’s announcement that it would leave out these components citing environmental reasons.
Many Weibo users said they might delay ordering the iPhone 12s to await the expected launch of Huawei’s rival Mate 40 Pro this month.
Still, analysts said they were optimistic about the reception of the iPhone 12 in China, saying the company likely still has many loyal users who have delayed updating devices until the launch of the 5G-capable iPhone 12.
With the new model in sight, research firm Canalys recently revised its forecast for iPhone shipments to China in the fourth quarter of 2020 to a 14% year-over-year increase, a big change from the 1% drop. originally planned.
“In China right now, 5G is not a premium feature, it’s a must-have feature,” said Nicole Peng, who tracks China’s smartphone industry at Canalys. Peng said the launch of 5G “will trigger a new wave of phone replacements” for Apple in China before the end of the year and the first quarter of 2021.
Canalys expects 50% of Chinese phone owners to be using a 5G device by the end of 2020 as phone networks and brands aggressively push adoption. Only 29% of US phone owners will be on 5G devices at the same time.
Apple could also benefit from a possible spin-off from its main high-end rival Huawei, which could see its smartphone division collapse next year due to US restrictions on chip supply.
Neil Shah, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, said he expected Apple to benefit “significantly” from the potential gap that will be left due to US trade restrictions on Huawei to produce new phones at scale.
On the other hand, there is lingering concern that Apple could be vulnerable to rising geopolitical tensions between the United States and China.
Beijing is expected to unveil an “entity list” that prevents domestic companies from doing business with certain foreign companies amid industry speculation that Apple and other high-profile tech companies could be targets.
Over the past year, though, consumer sentiment has yet to turn negative for Apple, even as Huawei’s woes have made headlines in China.
Apple’s China unit shipments were up 35% year-on-year in China in the second quarter of 2020, according to Canalys. This made it the only top brand other than Huawei to experience positive growth, a feat it has achieved even without offering a 5G device.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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