Posted on September 12, 2013, Thursday
STUMBLING BLOCK: The new iPhone 5C is displayed during an Apple product announcement at the Apple campus in Cupertino, California. The pricing of what was expected to be a cheap model aimed at growth markets such as China and India has not only stumped investors, but also Apple aficionados in China, a country of 1.4 billion people and the world’s largest smartphone market. — AFP photo
BEIJING/SINGAPORE: The world’s biggest public company and the world’s biggest country are at loggerheads over the price of a phone.
Apple Inc’s new plastic-backed iPhone 5C will sell for 4,488 yuan (US$730) China, almost 200 more than the United States retail price of US$549 and only 800 yuan (US$130) less than its top-of-the-line sibling, the 5S.
The pricing of what was expected to be a cheap model aimed at growth markets such as China and India has not only stumped investors, but also Apple aficionados in China, a country of 1.4 billion people and the world’s largest smartphone market.
“My original estimate of the 5S price was around 3,000 yuan, but more than 4,000 – I think for a budget version the price may be a little expensive. I don’t think I can buy one,” said Liu Donghai, a 25-year-old chemical engineer.
“If the 5S is around 5,000, then it’s similar to the already-released 5 and 4S. I would accept this,” he added.
Apple, whose market capitalisation of US$449 billion makes it the world’s most valuable publicly traded company, unveiled the two new handsets at an event at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, on Tuesday.
For the first time, it held a launch event in Beijing hours later on Wednesday, a move seen as underscoring the importance of the Chinese market.
New Apple product releases tend to generate a great deal of buzz, but the 5C’s reception in China, where fans have been known to queue for days for new products, was lukewarm at best.
“The iPhone 5C is so expensive. Originally I absolutely planned to buy it, now the price makes me uncomfortable. Isn’t it just an iPhone 5 with a plastic back?” said Sina Weibo user Shangzhiruixin.
The phrase ‘iPhone 5S’ was the most popular search term on Sina Weibo, China’s most widely used microblogging service, on Wednesday, while “iPhone 5C” did not appear on the top searches list.
Other users questioned why anyone willing to fork out well over 4,000 yuan for a smartphone would not just pay a bit more for the premium 5S model. — Reuters