The chairman of China's #1 PC maker Lenovo taunted Steve Jobs over the weekend, saying he is missing a big opportunity in China due to his "bad temper." Lenovo’s founder and chairman Chuanzhi Liu told the Financial Times Sunday
that his company's Android-powered "LePhone" would be competitive with the iPhone because it had more Chinese content available for it.
The iPhone remains in high demand in China, largely because supply is constrained by the official provider China Unicom, which sells the device at a price that is well out of the reach of average Chinese consumers and with WiFi disabled. Unlocked phones are still available on the grey market for much less, but these phones don't work with China's official WAPI wireless standard.
Chairman Liu said that Lenovo has recovered well from the financial crisis, with a 30 percent market share in China, which is the fastest growing market in the world and is projected to be the world's largest by the end of the year. Liu said Apple was missing out in China, telling the Financial Times
that his company is "lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn’t care about China," saying that if "Apple were to spend the same effort on the Chinese consumer as we do, we would be in trouble.” This was largely considered braggadocio rather than a suggestion that Apple would be able to seriously challenge Lenovo in its home market, where PCs and phones are available for a tiny fraction of Apple's prices.
Nevertheless, Apple is attempting to make inroads into China, with the newest Apple Store slated to open Saturday
at the base of China's largest skyscraper, the glittering World Financial Center in Shanghai. The company reportedly plans to have 25 Apple Stores in China
by the end of this year.
Apple's GSM-only iPhone continues to be a hindrance in China as in other markets, and as in the US, rumors persist in China about a CDMA variant of the device. Michael Essany covered reports last week
of talks between Apple and China Mobile to bring the iPhone to the mainland's largest carrier.