Published On Sunday, February 17, 2008. Under: News.According to market research firm In-Stat nearly half of the 800,000 iPhones that have been unlocked for distribution and use outside of the sanctioned Apple networks are believed to be in China. China Mobile, which is the nation’s largest wireless carrier, stated that there were approximately 400,000 unlocked iPhones that were using the carrier’s cellular network service at the end of 2007. This number represents approximately ten percent of all iPhones which were sold at that time. The carrier went on to say that the figure was very surprising and significantly more than what was estimated, although they had no doubt that the iPhone would be much more popular than the iPod in China if and when Apple and China Mobile team up to launch the Chinese version of the iPhone. The surge has been credited to a major difference between the American and Chinese buyers. In the US, most buyers confine their smartphone purchases to those needed for work related purposes. Chinese buyers often use their phones for entertainment or to obtain internet access. Apple’s focus on this last usage pattern for their iPhone makes it a very logical fit for the market, particularly with the interface that the iPhone uses. Contributing to the surge is the fact that Chinese buyers are more likely to spend larger amounts of money on their phone purchases. This is despite earning lower average incomes. One-fifth of all phones sold in China cost no less than 4,000 Yuan Renminbi each, or $533 in US Dollars. Despite attempts by Apple to keep the iPhone unlocking from the public eye with new software and changes to the phone’s bootloader, it has become very apparent that there are entrepreneurs giving the public exactly what they want. Since Apple has signed a revenue-sharing deal with various carrier partners that does not apply if the phone is unlocked from its respective network, this comes as a bit of a lost opportunity for Apple.
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