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Will Apple’s plan to corner the Chinese market work?

Apple has recently unveiled their newest and fastest smartphone to date, the iPhone 5S. They also released the slightly cheaper version – the iPhone 5C. The only difference between the two models is the design, with the 5C having a little more plastic to its casing.

The purpose of the iPhone 5C is to penetrate new markets, especially China. With a smartphone user-base of over one billion, Apple needs to make inroads into China, a country dominated by local brands of smartphones. But the Chinese unveiling was not what they had expected.

Instead of a live ceremony, the audience looked at an unveiling party that took place earlier in California, which was not to the liking of the people present there. The Chinese audience stated that they did not like the poor arrangements for the event and also the high price-tags for the phones. The cheapest 5S costs 5,288 Yuan (£546; $864) while its plastic brother, the 5C, will cost 4,488 Yuan (£463; $733).

A journalist for the Beijing Times, Xin Haiguang, wrote, ‘There are many things that Apple can now grasp, but it chooses not to do so. For instance, large-screen mobile phones, cheap versions of the iPhone, TD versions of the iPhone and so on that are more suitable for the Chinese market’ (see this BBC article).

Update

Apple has revealed in a statement that it sold nine Million iPhones 5S and 5C in the first weekend following the release of the two models. This is a new record for Apple as the later model, the iPhone 5, only sold five Million pieces in the first three days. In addition to that, 200 million users are now running the new iOS 7.

Fully embrace the language and the culture

From those comments, it would seem that Apple hasn’t fully embraced the Chinese market, which may prove to be a grave error. Despite this, Apple clearly see China as a growth market, but how their future in this region will pan out with local vendors, copycat producers and the Chinese government is still to be seen.

What this does show is that companies still see China as a key growth opportunity. Making inroads into the Chinese market isn’t just possible for the world’s largest brands; SMEs can easily make the leap too. A crucial part of any international expansion is handling the culture and language of the market.

Our teams have a lot of experience in helping companies explore new markets. We’ve helped lots of clients with the language requirements, including Chinese translation services, and we can help your business too.

To find out how we can help you or for a free quote, call us on +44 (0)20 7870 7100

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