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China's Apple fans on the wane?

English.news.cn   2012-09-13 17:16:30            

by Xinhua writer Hu Tao

BEIJING, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Apple fans seemed to enjoy a sound sleep while the company unveiled its iPhone 5 on Wednesday in the United States.

Out of more than 36,000 respondents to an online survey by Sina, China's major web portal, about 48.1 percent said they would "not buy the iPhone 5."

Around a quarter, 24.6 percent of all respondents, would "wait and see" while 27.3 percent of all respondents said they would "buy it."

"I will consider buying the iPhone 5 after it is available in China, maybe in several months, but the impulse has dimmed into inertia," said Wang Yao, a 26-year-old white collar worker in Beijing.

With the iPhone 4S in hand, Wang said she has had three iPhones at one time or another and two iPads, but "the feeling of being unique has long faded away as so many people have the iPhone."

According to Wednesday's media event in San Francisco, the iPhone 5 has a four-inch screen compared with the 3.5-inch display of the previous models.

"Now, today we're taking it to the next level, making a huge leap," Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said at the event.

Apple used to be a piece of artwork, said Feixiangwang Xiangligang on Sina Weibo, China's most popular microblogging site.

But "The mystical expectation has faded into 'everything known' with the latest iPhone 5," Feixiangwang complained.

Analysts have predicted the arrival of the iPhone 5 will spur a rebound in Apple's smartphone sales and also boost the global smartphone market for the rest of the year.

Apple is expected to introduce more innovation and new products, which is in its DNA thanks to its late co-founder Steve Jobs, according to Wang Yong, secretary general of Brand China Industry Union.

"In spite of this, the psychology of customers or even Apple fans will subtly change as its products gradually change from representing individuality into a street fashion," he said.

Apple is in a different smartphone market environment, in which world electronic giants such as Samsung are yearning for a share of the profits, said insiders.

Cong Sen, director of the mobile business of Zhongguancun Online, a flagship website of China's technology web portals, pointed out that popular new mobile models with large touch screens, user-friendly systems and good value are squeezing the iPhone's market.

"Chinese consumers are famous for frequently replacing mobile phones, but they are becoming more rational in the choices of brands and cost-performance," he said.

It is not known yet when the iPhone 5 will arrive in China.

Apple has long been renowned for its "arrogance," especially to the Chinese mainland market, and it has failed to meet the demand of the country's customers in both affection and services, said Wang Yong.

To win and stabilize the huge market in China, it has been suggested Apple should pay more respect and attention to launch dates in the country, increase the sales quota and localize its services to Chinese customers, he said.

The iPhone 5 will come in white and silver, or black and slate. The price starts from 199 U.S. dollars for a 16-GB model in the United States.

It will first be available in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Britain on Sept. 21, and the pre-order will start on Sept. 14.

In the post-Jobs era, it will prove more difficult for Apple's smartphones to be absolutely dominant in the market, warned insiders.

The comparatively high prices limit the devices to high-end customers and fashionists, which helps explain people's tendencies to opt instead for phones with the Android system, said Wang.

The iPhone's closed system can also make it frustratingly incompatible with other electronic devices. This unique characteristic puts the iPhone at a disadvantage in its competition with other mobile brands, he added.

Then, it will be the innovation that has long been in Apple's DNA that will save it from being overlooked in favor of rivals, Wang believes. (Xinhua writer Li Meng contributes to the story)

Editor: Chen Zhi
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