Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be holding a separate launch event for its new line-up of iPhones in China just hours after the U.S. launch at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple Insider reports.
Chinese newspaper SinaTech reported that Apple sent invitations to a special event in Beijing to members of the Chinese media. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. local time on September 11, the day after Apple’s U.S. media event in California. The fact that Apple is choosing to hold a separate event in Beijing for the Chinese media reveals how important China, which is home to the world’s largest smartphone market, is for Apple’s future.
According to Apple Insider, this is the first time Apple has had a separate launch event in China. Apple has been working towards a deal with China’s largest mobile carrier China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) and it’s rumored Apple will be introducing a low-cost version of the iPhone called the iPhone 5C in order to appeal to emerging markets.
Cheaper devices running on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform have been more successful in Asia where consumers don’t seem to be as willing to pay the high price for an iPhone as they do in the U.S. The iPhone 5C will have a lower price due to the use of a plastic composite shell and current generation technology inside. The device is also expected to come in a variety of colors.
Analysts are expecting a deal between Apple and China Mobile to close by the end of the year. Apple needs access to China Mobile’s 700 million subscribers, none of which currently have access to the iPhone, and China Mobile needs to be able to offer the iPhone if it’s to keep its number one status. That deal, along with the offering of a cheaper iPhone, could give Apple access to the 65 percent of the smartphone market that it doesn’t currently serve, according to recent estimates from Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, seen by Apple Insider.
Apple is working on a similar predicament in Japan. Japan’s biggest carrier, NTT DoCoMo Inc., also doesn’t yet offer the iPhone to its 60 million subscribers. A deal between the two has been rumored about recently, especially since DoCoMo’s Chief Financial Officer has said a deal with Apple would make good business sense for the carrier.
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