iPhone 5C remains expensive in China

iPhone 5s and iPhone 5C

iPhone 5s and iPhone 5C

Many people have joked that the “C” in iPhone 5C may mean “cheap,” but for mainland Chinese it probably means “costly.” What was intended to be an inexpensive version of the iPhone 5 for its Chinese market turns out to be not budget-friendly to the majority.

An unlocked iPhone 5C costs about $550 in the United States. In mainland China, the phone starts at 4,488 renminbi or $733. Also, subsidies are non-existent in the country compared to the US and Europe. Consumers in China have to pay full price for the smartphone at their local mobile carriers, but these companies often provide discounts to their customers’ monthly bill.

This means that while the iPhone 5C is marketed as a low-range smartphone in the US, it is still considered a high-end phone in the market Apple intends to reach out. Apple’s share in the Chinese smartphone market dropped to a measly 5 percent in the second quarter according to research, largely due to competition from domestic companies like Huawei, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Yulong Coolpad, and ZTE.

And compared to devices offered by rival companies, the iPhone 5C will cost more than twice the price of Xiaomi Phone 2, which starts at $310.

However, some analysts hypothesize that Apple may have deliberately set a high initial price in China for potential price cuts, testing how much an average Chinese consumer would be willing to spend for an iPhone.

It is also ironic to think the iPhones have always been more expensive in China, even though these smartphones are actually assembled in the country. It is mainly because iPhones sold in mainland China include a 17-percent value-added tax, while the same product can be exported abroad tax-free.

The iPhone 5C will be available through China Unicom and China Telecom, which have a combined total of 400 million subscribers.

Source: The New York Times

Image source: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

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