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  • Unicom Puts Hefty Price Tag on the iPhone

    Image via Chinahush

    It's a big day for iPhone distribution news already this morning.

    First, we learn that France Telecom's Orange will begin marketing the iPhone later this year, and now we're hearing that China Unicom - China's second largest mobile carrier - has a price in mind for its roll-out plan for the iPhone next month.

    According to news from Reuters, China Unicom will introduce the iPhone in October at a retail price of 5,000 yuan, which is approximately $730.

    The high price tag may force buyers of the popular handsets to sign up for subsidized packages carrying lower handset prices but also longer-term contract commitments, as competition heats up in China's recently reformed telecoms sector.
    Just last month, China Unicom reached a three-year agreement with Apple after a considerable period of time that saw both the folks at Apple and officials in China attempting to bring the popular handset to the hundreds of millions of mobile sucscribers already in China. According to Reuters, most mobile customers in China still use older 2G services.

    CLSA analyst Francis Cheung said the pricing is likely to limit the phones to the highest end of the market, a relatively small but lucrative segment now dominated by the country's biggest carrier, China Mobile. "They look at this as a high end product, not mass market. All these plans offer subsidized phones," he said.
    China's push for 3G and a new commitment to the largest mobile market in the world is already yielding positive results, even in commercial trials. For example, Unicom claims to have signed up 530,000 3G users just since in May. That number includes 430,000 cell phone users and 100,000 users of data cards for connecting computers to the Internet.
    "Most people will not buy a phone separate from a plan. It's very expensive. I do get the sense there are going to be affordability issues."
    You think?!?!

    Indeed, the iPhone comes at a very high price, yet in much of Asia, that price tag is par for the course. In Hong Kong, for example, the iPhone retails for approximately $695, which isn't all that much of a reduced price from its Chinese counterpart.

    What will truly be fascinating to watch is the comprehensive introduction of the iPhone to the Chinese marketplace at these prices. Like many others, I believe the price will have to come down substantially in order for the Chinese (and Apple) to fully realize the selling potential and growth the device is capable of achieving in the Chinese marketplace.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Unicom Puts Hefty Price Tag on the iPhone started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. MaxRabbit's Avatar
      MaxRabbit -
      Wow... And the cost to build is less than half that!
    1. JustinPizzle's Avatar
      JustinPizzle -
      so glad my 3G[S] was 200$
    1. jetfuel495's Avatar
      jetfuel495 -
      So it costs China $187 to build the iPhone... And they sell it for $730?

      Kinda makes me wish I was in on this.
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      I thought Hong Kong was a city in China. A quick google search says that China took it over in 1997 under a contract that says Hong Kong will maintain its Capitalist economic system until 2047, at which time China will destroy it by turning it into a communist system. That's sad.

      I wonder what kind of phones they'll have in 2047. Perhaps Apple will provide that nation with "The People's Phone"
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      Damn. For $730, it's better be unlocked and no contract.
    1. enono's Avatar
      enono -
      Earlier news reports that Unicom iPhone doesn't even come with WiFi!
      But they will be factory unlocked, thou.
    1. mikerlx's Avatar
      mikerlx -
      Wish my 2G was factory unlocked.
    1. Kiserai's Avatar
      Kiserai -
      Quote Originally Posted by jetfuel495 View Post
      So it costs China $187 to build the iPhone... And they sell it for $730?

      Kinda makes me wish I was in on this.
      You can be. It's called STOCK.
    1. khiphone3g's Avatar
      khiphone3g -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kiserai View Post
      You can be. It's called STOCK.
      I think that was what he meant when he said "was"
    1. HaiLong's Avatar
      HaiLong -
      This ad literally translates to: "This is okay to have. It is also okay to not have."
    1. Kruejl's Avatar
      Kruejl -
      Apple sure scored on this one.
    1. bengo's Avatar
      bengo -
      Quote Originally Posted by JustinPizzle View Post
      so glad my 3G[S] was 200$
      That's only what you paid up front.
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      extortion and no wifi?!? crap...
    1. Xagest's Avatar
      Xagest -
      Wouldn't this just encourage people to buy a contract, cancel it, pay the cancellation fee, then sell the iPhone for lower for massive profits, undercutting the company? I mean, unless the cancellation fees are like 500 dollars or something...
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      It's only in the US as far as I know that you can pay an ETF.
      In most other countries you have to pay for the full term of your contract - if you sign up, you pay.
    1. mdc929's Avatar
      mdc929 -
      i need a really big book so i can start smacking myself with it for not buying stock yet