More than two-thirds of consumers in China, the world's largest mobile phone market, are aware of Apple's iPhone, even though the product is not on sale there, according to a new survey.
“In our interviews, females were more likely to cite trendiness and design as a key factor in wanting to purchase an iPhone while males cited utility as the chief reason”, researchers from US-based Pearl Research said in a report summary. An online survey of 450 Chinese consumers found that 68 per cent had heard of the iPhone.
China's government-linked mobile phone giant, China Mobile, has discussed a local launch of the iPhone with its developer, Apple, but the two companies have so far failed to reach agreement. However, despite this, iPhones are readily available in stores in the country's major cities. The phones are purchased in the US and imported to China. Their internal software is hacked to unlock the phones so they can work with local mobile networks.
“The high price tag of $500 or more was the most mentioned reason for disinterest in purchasing an iPhone [in China] along with Apple’s inexperience in mobile phones. The iPhone’s high profile has spawned Chinese copycats that duplicate iPhone’s features at a fraction of the price, retailing for $200 to $300. Pearl Research believes the popularity of these copycat phones could cut into market share for the official iPhone,” the company's researchers said.
China has 565 million mobile phone users, according to Pearl Research.
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