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Major Chinese business paper claims iPhone 6 won’t go on sale in China this year – reliability unclear


Bloomberg is quoting a report from the major Chinese business paper 21st Century Business Herald that the iPhone 6 may not go on sale in China this year due to regulatory delays. Apple was unable to confirm a launch date in the country.

Apple may have to wait until next year to get approval for new iPhones in China after failing to reach agreement with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology this month, the 21st Century Business Herald reported today, citing an unidentified person close to Apple.

Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Apple, said she couldn’t provide a date for the China release. “China is a key market for us and we will get here as soon as possible,” Wu said in an e-mail today …

If true, it would be a major blow to Apple, for whom China is a hugely important market. The reliability of the source is unclear, however, the WSJ reporting last week that the paper had been accused of extorting money from companies by threatening to run negative stories about them.

The official Xinhua News Agency, citing investigators, said Wednesday that some journalists at the 21st Century Business Herald website targeted companies preparing for initial public offerings and forced them to sign lucrative advertising contracts to avoid negative news coverage.

Xinhua said the practice resulted in several hundred million yuan in “advertising contracts” beginning from at least 2010. State broadcaster China Central Television put the total at 300 million yuan ($48.9 million).

Reuters reported later the same day that executives from the paper had since made confessions on state television.

Last year, the iPhone 5s and 5c launched in China on the same day as in the USA. It had earlier been reported that regulatory delays might mean the iPhone 6 wouldn’t launch in China on 19th September, but this is the first suggestion that it might be so badly delayed.

Relationships between Apple and the Chinese government have at times been strained. Last year, Tim Cook issued an apology to China over accusations of poor warranty service were made on Chinese state TV, and earlier this year the same TV channel described the iPhone as a “national security concern” due to its location-tracking capabilities.

At the time of writing, AAPL shares were down 1.1 percent in pre-market trading.

Photo credit: South China Morning Post

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  1. erictheactor - 9 years ago

    Sorry China… Mine will be here Friday:)

  2. iSRS - 9 years ago

    Wow. I can’t even imagine what it must be like in China. Our government and media often seem to work together to sell a story, but it seems (again, from western news sources) that the Chinese media often is a branch of the government. They, likely, would prefer their citizens to buy Chinese branded phones, even though a large part of the iPhone is made in China. Delicate balancing act.

    • acslater017 - 9 years ago

      Chinese consumers are racing to adopt the trappings of modern life, but they also have a history of being exploited and bullied by foreign nations. Now that they are in a position of leverage, they are probably a bit too overzealous in advancing Chinese interests – at the expense of participating maturely in the international marketplace.

    • PMZanetti - 9 years ago

      The only difference between China and the US and that China doesn’t hide its tyranny as well.

  3. Every negative piece of news is a buying opportunity. 2.5 mil shares traded hands first 5 min today. Some eager buyers out there!

  4. montefuego - 9 years ago

    very disturbing, since the quote from the chairman of China Mobile seems to confirm this.

  5. To bad for Apple, China is huge! Competition will continue to take more ground..

  6. boardflyer (@boardflyer) - 9 years ago

    US government should start delaying sales of Chinese products. Let them sit on the docks for however long it takes for the iPhone 6 to get approved. Glad I never have to do business in China.

  7. Edison Wrzosek - 9 years ago

    Is this why the stock is down today? Stupid investors see a bogus story and they sell, pathetic.

  8. Lars Pallesen - 9 years ago

    “Apple may have to wait until next year to get approval for new iPhones in China after failing to reach agreement with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology”.
    Translation: Apple has not (yet) agreed to the outrageous size of the bribe the Chinese Government officials are demanding in return for their approval.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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