Categories: Global Tech News

Apple 2012 Sales Expected to Almost Double in China from 2011

Apple is expected to almost double its sales in China over the course of 2012, but after this year, these numbers will likely drop off due to recent issues the tech giant has had in the country.

In 2011, Apple’s sales hit $13.3 billion in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. For Q1 2012, Apple’s sales in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan grew to $7.9 billion, which accounted for about a fifth of its total sales worldwide.

Analysts expect that Apple’s sales for all of 2012 will nearly double 2011’s $13.3 billion figure. This is mainly due to the iPhone’s popularity in China, where the wealthy first and second-tier cities see Apple products as a status symbol. In fact, 137 to 140 million iPhone shipments are expected to hit China in 2012.

While wealthy Chinese cities can afford a basic iPhone 4S, which costs 4,988 yuan ($790 USD), there are many third and fourth-tier cities that certainly cannot. Per capita urban disposable income was only 21,810 yuan ($3,500 USD) in 2011 while per capita rural income was only 6,977 yuan ($1,105 USD).

IPhone sales will likely keep climbing, but analysts say Apple will have to offer more affordable options in order to maintain or grow market share.

Apple’s potential issues in China don’t end there. In order to continue the momentum for its products in China, Apple needs to iron out other details in the country, such as creating more official sales outlets, supporting the largest Chinese mobile carrier’s technology, and settling an iPad lawsuit.

Apple has had issues with fake Chinese Apple stores, where counterfeiters open legitimate-looking Apple stores with products that look like the real thing. These stores, such as the one authorities found in Kunming, offer counterfeit iPhones and iPads for cheap while telling customers they’re getting the real deal. Last year, over 22 unauthorized Apple retailers were found in China.

Aside from counterfeit problems, Apple also faces issues with China’s largest mobile carrier China Mobile. While Apple has successfully partnered with other large Chinese carriers like China Telecom and China Unicom, sales and market share can only go upward if it tries to seal a deal with China Mobile. By allowing the latest version of the iPhone to support China Mobile’s 4G TD-LTE and 3G proprietary technologies, Apple could come out on top; but it would have to use Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragon chips.

All iPhone-related issues aside, Apple has the iPad to worry about in China as well. The iPad currently has 70 percent of the tablet market share in China, but Apple is unable to release its latest iPad due to a lawsuit launched by Chinese tech company Proview International Holdings, which claims to own the iPad trademark in the country.

Apple can stay worry-free for now, as 2012’s sales outlook seems promising. The tech giant is expected to sell 16 million iPhones in 2012, which doubles 2011’s total sales. However, Apple will have to make some serious changes to keep the love for its products alive.

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