Beijing Times, 2/03/12
After suspending sales for nearly 20 days, Apple China resumed sales of the iPhone 4S through its online store today. Customers are limited to two handsets apiece, and shipment dates are estimated only as "February." Apple has not yet resumed sales of the handset at its Xidan and Sanlitun stores in Beijing, and has not yet decided upon a timetable for doing so.
Apple's move to suspend handset sales has led retailers with iPhone 4S handsets in stock to sell them at inflated prices. The 16 GB white iPhone 4S, for instance, was priced at RMB 5,299 on retailer Suning's (002024.SZ) Yigou online store yesterday, and at RMB 5,188 in retailer Zoomflight's Beijing stores - while the same handset sells for RMB 4,988 on Apple's online store.
A new report from Morgan Stanley predicts that iPhone sales could grow in China by nearly 40 mln units over the coming year - a prediction seen as optimistic by Chinese industry insiders. Chinese firm SINO Market Research reported that 254 mln handsets were sold in China in 2011, 13.16 mln of which were priced at RMB 3,000 or above - a category including the iPhone, as well as handsets from Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, and other brands.
Editor's Note: For more background on this topic, please see "Handset Sales Volume in China to Rise 22% in 2012" MD 2/02/12 issue.