Is Apple making a judgement error in China?
This would appear to be the case for Shaun Rein, one of China’s foremost market experts. When recently interviewed by Hamish McKenzie over at PandoDaily, the author of The End of Cheap China had a bone to pick with Apple over what he perceives as a lack of foresight in the Chinese market.
Apple is “underperforming” in China, says Shaun Rein. His assessment is that Apple is doing very little, given that the company has only 5 store locations in the country and many current and potential competitors, including Samsung and Xiaomi. With several companies releasing their own smartphone recently, including Baidu, Netease and Qihoo 360, it is no longer a guarantee that Chinese buyers will crave the iPhone in the coming years.
Why, for instance, has the company still delayed making its devices compatible with the vastly larger user-base of China Mobile? With news out today that China Unicom and Apple will be renewing their 3-year partnership, and no sign of any deal with China Mobile on the horizon, it looks as if Shaun Rein might have a point.
Apple needs to have a much more significant market presence in China. Adding Chinese characteristics to its existing line of products will not be enough.