The much-anticipated iPhone 12 launch has stirred a mixed reaction in mainland China. While fans cheered a 5G model for their favourite brand while others are planning to wait on hits by rival brands like Huawei and Oppo.
Huawei and Xiaomi had before now, rolled out higher-end 5G devices compatible with China’s telecom networks. In fact, these phone makers are already in the second phase of the 5G technology roll out. We can conveniently say that iPhone is a bit late to the party.
Despite the existing trade war between Beijing and Washington, Apple’s announcement was greatly discussed on the internet with over 6 million views on China’s Twitter-like Weibo chat. The tag “iPhone 12” ranked as no.1 on the platform.
In China today, owning a 5G device is not a premium service; it’s a must have. The uproar is far from using a 5G-enabled device. China is already ahead in the 5G race. The hot topic for debate ranges from the pricing and the accessibility to 5G. Purchasing the newly launched device in China will ultimately give Apple users 5G access in a market where such networks are already widespread. In the US for instance, the device will not be so beneficial to many due to a lack of access.
In a magazine poll, 9,269 respondents voted in favour of the newly launched device while 10,000 voted against and about 5,400 were indifferent saying it was still under consideration for them. The price tag was another cause for debate. Many complained about the device being too pricey. “How is it this expensive even with no power charger or earbuds?” said a commenter on Weibo platform in response to Apple’s announcement that it would not include those accessories, citing environmental reasons.
Many other Weibo users say they way hold on for alternatives like Huawei and Xiaomi before deciding to place their order. Apple’s rival Mate 40 Pro will unveil later in October 2020. It goes to show how price-sensitive consumers can be.
If fans in China waited for the unveiling of the 5G-friendly iPhone 12 before settling for an alternative, it shows that the big tech still has many loyal users who willingly postponed getting a new device until this launch. Its features are enough to wow fans and onlookers.
Apple’s target is to sell its newly launched device in countries where 5G is no longer premium and has a wide coverage. China is a good target for the phone maker. Canalys, a research firm predicted 1% decrease in shipment but has revised to a 14% year-on-year increase. The 5G launch will trigger a new wave of phone replacements for Apple loyalists in China before the end of the year and in the first quarter of 2021.
Analysts thinks that Apple will be the largest beneficiary as it stands to benefit greatly from the potential gap caused by the US trade restrictions between Huawei and Washington. Huawei is likely to suffer a collapse in its smartphone division next year due to US restrictions on its supply of chips.
On another angle, if the tension continues between both parties, Apple could also lose out. Beijing is expected to release an entity list that will bar domestic companies from business dealings with certain foreign companies. Apple and some other high-profile tech firms are targets.