Apple today expanded its App Store Volume Purchase Program (VPP) to 16 important new regions. Here are the new areas:
In an email to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared his “deepest sympathies” to the people of Yunnan, China after the region was struck by a disastrous earthquake this past weekend. The earthquake took the lives of 589 people and caused the relocation of over 200,000 people, according to reports. Here’s Cook’s internal memo to employees, which was provided by a source:
Our deepest sympathies go out to the people of China’s Yunnan Province, which was struck by a devastating 6.5-magnitude earthquake over the weekend. Nearly 600 people died and over 2400 were injured in the worst earthquake to hit the region in 100 years. Rescuers have evacuated 230,000 people who are now displaced from their homes. The road to Longtoushan Township, the epicenter of the quake, has been blocked by landslides, making the rescue effort there even more challenging. Apple is eager to help. We are making a financial donation in support of the work of Mercy Corps and CFPA (China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation) to get supplies and relief to those affected by the earthquake and to help them through the process of healing and recovery. The tragedy in Yunnan Province is on the minds of many in the Apple community. Apple has over 6500 employees in China and Hong Kong as well as a growing developer community and deep ties to the workers in our supply chain who make Apple products. In this time of tragedy, our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
Cook says that Apple will be making a monetary donation to groups that provide relief efforts for those hurt by the earthquake and its ramifications. Reports indicate that the donation is worth 10 million Yuan, which converts to just over $1.6 million. Cook also notes that Apple has deep ties to the area as Apple has over 6500 employees in China, many third-party developers, and family members of supply chain personnel. Apple has also posted a message on its China homepage:
Apple is about to roll out its Volume Purchase Program, which allows business and education customers to purchase and distribute iOS apps in bulk for deployed devices, into 16 new countries. Apple’s website for both the Volume Purchase Program for Business and for Education have been updated to announce the expansion and now list the following countries as coming soon to the program: Read more
Just over a week ago, thousands of Apple employees, including CEO Tim Cook, took to the streets of San Francisco to take part in the Pride Parade. The company has not been hesitant to share its views on LGBT rights, and the parade was yet another instance of that. This evening, Apple uploaded a video to its official YouTube channel showing off all of the effort that went into the Pride Parade last week and its “unwavering” support for equality and diversity.
Analysts say that the official launch of the iPhone on China Mobile could lead to subsidy wars as Chinese carriers compete to attract buyers. The predictions, quoted by Business Insider, follow price cuts by rival carriers China Unicom and China Telecom as China Mobile reports 1.2 million pre-orders.
China Mobile is currently offering the iPhone 5s free with a 24-month contract costing the equivalent of $98 a month. A 30-month contract on China Unicom costs $63 a month.
I do think you’re going to see a subsidy war coming,” said Michael Clendenin, managing director of Shanghai-based RedTech Advisors. “China Mobile, if they’re not making their targets on sales for these phones, they’re going to increase the subsidies [...] It’s like airlines: the other guys will fall like dominoes, so China Unicom will do it and China Telecom will do it” … Read more
Earlier this week we told you that Apple had announced an upcoming sale in many of its Asian online stores to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year taking place at the end of January. The sales see Apple offering discounts in China, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia online stores similar to deals on offer for Black Friday in the US and other countries.
This year Apple is offering cash discounts on the usual products— up to $40 off iPads, $100 off Macs, and smaller discounts on iPods and Smart Covers— it’s also offering a rare discount on iPhones at around $50 off both the iPhone 5s and 5c. In addition, a much larger selection of accessories are on sale compared to the company’s Black Friday sale including popular products from Parrot, Apogee, Belkin, LaCie, and Apple.
Update: The Chinese government has now confirmed this date.
The iPhone looks set to be launched by China Mobile – the biggest carrier in the world’s biggest country – on Wednesday 18th December, reports the WSJ. While neither the carrier nor Apple have made a definitive announcement, China Mobile has said this is the date it will “introduce a new brand.”
The launch is expected during the company’s 4G global partners conference in Guangzhou, according to China Mobile’s website. An executive at the world’s largest mobile operator has said it is ready to start fourth-generation mobile services, though China has yet to issue 4G licenses. In September, China’s Telecom Equipment Certification Center gave Apple Inc.the final license necessary for the iPhone to run on China Mobile’s network … Read more
While a possible deal with China Mobile, one of the world’s largest telecoms, was rumored for quite sometime leading up to launch of the new iPhones, the company said in August that it was still working out “commercial and technical issues” with Apple. Today, Bloomberg points us to an Apple job listing in China that provides some evidence that the company is indeed preparing to launch the iPhone on the carrier’s network:
The manager, who will be based in Beijing, will “support and drive the carrier approval of mobile phones,” Apple said in an advertisement on its China website. The position seeks experience with TD-SCDMA, China Mobile’s own third-generation standard that isn’t used by other carriers.
On top of TD-SCDMA, the job listing is also seeking an engineer with experience in TD-LTE, which is the LTE standard that China Mobile has quickly been rolling out. Back in August the often reliable KGI analyst Mingchi Kuo claimed that Apple was ramping up TD-LTE supported iPhone 5c production and estimated that the iPhone 5s and 5c on China Mobile could account for penetration of 25% and 35% of total shipments for the two devices. Currently the carrier has approximately 756 million subscribers, around 63% of the 1.2 billion wireless subscribers in China. Read more
Unlike the rest of the world, China and Hong Kong can reserve the iPhone 5s starting today. However, just minutes after the phone became available, most models and colors sold out across the country.
At the time of writing, only the 16 GB ‘space grey’ SKU’s remain available for reservation. All other models have sold out and are “currently unavailable” according to the online store. Sina reported on the phenomenon, noting that the gold model, in particular, was in high demand… Read more
Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is planning its first new store in Tokyo since 2005.
Apple plans to open a store in Tokyo’s upscale Omotesando shopping district as early as March, according to a person familiar with the plans.
Construction is scheduled to be completed by February, the person said, asking not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak for Apple.
Tokyo is noted for its high land values. Bloomberg estimating the cost of the land at around $164M with the finished store expected to be worth a staggering $256M … Read more
Apple’s retail store expansion continues in China, as the company confirmed this evening that its third Apple Store in Beijing, China is opening Oct. 20. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company confirmed the news on its website, letting customers know the Wangfuijing store’s doors will open at 10 a.m. IfoAppleStore described the location:
Wangfujing Street, a mile-long, pedestrian-only collection of over 200 shops that include Chinese and international brands. The street’s retail history dates back to 1200, and it is now a major destination for locals and tourists. The existing Xidan Joy City Apple store is about a mile west of Tianman Square, while the Wangfujing location will be east of the square. The country’s first Apple store at Sanlitun is about 3½ miles northeast.
China has proved to be a big growth market for Apple. The company has positioned itself aggressively there with additional retail openings. Most recently, Hong Kong’s second Apple Store opened in Kowloon Tong in the Festival Walk shopping center in September. In the summer, we also reported another store is rumored for Hysan Place in Causeway Bay.
Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated China’s importance several times on company earnings calls. Apple will also open a massive data center in Hong Kong, breaking ground in Q1 2013, our sources told us. Read more
We’ve received word that Apple is building another enormous data center—this time in Hong Kong SAR, China.
Apple recently finalized a location in the New Territories region of Hong Kong near the Shenzhen China border for the data center. We spoke to a bidding contractor employee who, on the condition of anonymity, told us the planned data center’s scale is unprecedented for his business: “There is simply nothing to compare it to and therefore it is hard to make estimates on size based on the materials required.” We were told that construction is to begin in Q1 2013, and it will likely take over a year for operations to start in the data center. The aim is to have it operational by 2015, which is the same time that Apple’s Spaceship Campus 2 is scheduled to go online.