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Launching the iPhone 4S in China

Author: iPhone Reviews // Category:
Since its launch in October, the iPhone 4S has become the most successful smartphone of all time, shifting four million handsets alone in its first weekend. With a full month of sales under its belt for November. Analysts believed that if this flood of popularity continues that by the end of 2011 sales of the iPhone 4S could be as high as 26 million. It means the Apple device could sell the same number of handsets as Samsung has of the Galaxy S2, but in a third of the time. Record sales are predicted for the holiday period.

One of the reasons for the continued success of the device has been its staggered launch around the globe, enabling it to generate headlines and engage with new users on a country by country basis. Initially in early October, the device launched in the UK, US, Canada, Japan and large parts of Europe including France and Germany. The rollout has then continued in Australia, and Ireland along with other areas of Europe. In mid-November the smartphone will be available in, among other countries, Portugal, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea and Guatemala meaning the iPhone 4S is available in more than 29 countries, aiming at 70 by the end of the year. Snaking queues and huge demand have met the device in each launch country.

One of the major targets for Apple, which could unveil the device before the end of November, is China. China has long been a target for Apple. With a large, plugged in population, China is the world’s fasting growing economy. The country is seen as a significant growth target for the iPhone makers. Chinese reports suggest the iPhone 4S is still pending regulation in China, but it is hoped the device will launch by the end of the year. Each device needs to be regulated before it can be made available on Chinese networks. It is expected the 8GB iPhone 4 will launch first, with the iPhone 4S available soon after.

The general manager of China Unicom Lu Yimin, leads the world’s third biggest mobile provider. He has released a statement suggesting the firm is keen to release the device as soon as possible. The iPhone 4S has already launched in Hong Kong and Singapore and it is believed there are many handsets available on the Chinese black market. Users suggest the offer of cloud computing, along with an application of artificial intelligence in Siri are an open market in China, one Apple could step into. Those buying an iPhone 4S through unofficial channels are paying between 5,500 yuan and 8,000 yuan, anywhere between $860 and $1,000. Some customers are waiting for prices to drop while others are focussing their attention on the iPhone 4 instead with prices for the 16GB and the 32GB reduced by 500 yuan and 1,000 yuan after the 4S was launched internationally.

The next step will be for Chinese Unicom to obtain a network access certificate from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, suggesting a launch date could be in the hands of the Chinese government, rather than Apple or Unicom. Yet both companies will be working closely with the government to lobby their cases.
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