The iPhone 5C, originally believed to be Apple’s answer to China and other emerging markets, turned out to be a pretty expensive devise after all. In North America, the phone costs roughly $549 USD to buy when unsubsidized, and around $199 USD when purchased on contract. In China, where cheap smartphone manufacturers and devices abound, an unsubsidized 5C costs a whopping $4488 RMB. That is about equivalent to $733 USD, which is significantly more expensive than what it takes to buy either an unlocked iPhone 5C or iPhone 5S ($649 USD) in the United States.
The Cupertino company’s ultimate decision to stick with a higher than expected pricing scheme, while in line with its profit-oriented strategy, does not appear consistent with CEO Tim Cook’s and Phil Schiller’s recent rhetoric about expanding and making a difference in China. Other than potentially failing to appeal to the country’s core group of consumers–which, according to sources like Technews and IBT, tend to be more cost-conscious and prudent about their hardware purchases than others–Apple faces the risk of losing out to many of the country’s domestic smartphone manufacturers. One particularly notable Chinese company, Xiaomi, has recently managed to beat Apple in terms of local market share, and is already garnering a lot of global recognition thanks to the popularity of its Mi 2 and “Red Mi” smartphones. The company, notably, also charges its smartphone at a price that is less than half of Apple’s (Mi 3, released last week, costs about 1999 RMB, for example).
Apple currently ranks seventh in China’s increasingly crowded smartphone market. The top five smartphone performers in China, according to a recent mobile market research report from Canalys, include Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, and Samsung.
To get an idea of the criticisms being directed towards the iPhone 5C, check out an interesting article from IBT here.