China Unicom Gets iPhone 4, iPad
According to a brief report in the English-language Chinese media, Apple has settled with China Unicom on a deal to sell the iPhone 4 and iPad in China
, less than a year since the iPhone 3GS became available and just a few days since a WiFi-enabled phone went on sale. The report indicated that China Unicom would be launching the new phone in early September, but didn't give a timetable for the iPad launch.
Official iPhones are an expensive prestige item in China, with the new government-approved WiFi iPhone 3GS going for a whopping 4,999 yuan or $736 US at current rates. China Unicom offers some subsidies for customers that choose contracts, though these are are generally not popular in China. The government-owned carrier also recently decided to lower the price
of the 32GB iPhone 3GS by 1,000 yuan in order to clear out inventory ahead of the expected iPhone 4 launch.
The bad publicity surrounding the iPhone 4 antenna issue may have hit the "gray market' of unofficial phones brought in from overseas and Hong Kong. Bloomberg quoted China Daily as saying that the price of gray iPhones dropped
to 6,000 yuan from 20,000 yuan in the month of July. However, follow-up reports
in the Western media questioned whether the 20,000-yuan figure was for all iPhones, or just unlocked ones from the UK. Locked phones from the US and Hong Kong sell for less.