China Mobile Stories March 20, 2014

A man holds a new Apple iPhone 5S next to his iPhone 5 at an Apple Store at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district

Photo: readwrite.com

China Mobile announced that it sold 1.34M 4G handsets in February and that “most of them” were iPhones. China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua was relatively non-committal on the numbers.

It’s just been getting started for one or two months. So far it’s hard to tell how that will affect our business […]

We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities.

Analyst estimates of likely sales had varied widely. Most had predicted at least 15-17M sales a year in China as a whole, however, suggesting that 1M in a month on what is by far the country’s largest carrier may be somewhat lower than anticipated …  expand full story

China Mobile Stories March 17, 2014

The South China Morning Post is reporting that the iPhone 5c, created by Apple to target growth markets like China, has hit only a 2 percent share of all iOS devices after four months, in contrast to the iPhone 5s with a 12 percent share and the original iPhone 5 with around 15 percent …  expand full story

China Mobile Stories March 13, 2014

Get into AAPL in April, suggests analyst, anticipating soft Q2 numbers before new products kick in

Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair has suggested that Apple’s share price could be temporarily depressed by disappointing Q2 results in March before climbing by as much as 20 percent in response to new products in the fall, reports Barrons.

This gap between what is actually happening at Apple and investor sentiment is providing an opportunity for investors. We believe this opportunity should be taken advantage of before Apple’s next array of products hit the market, though the best time to own the stock may be in April after we get the March quarter/June guide behind us.

Blair cites several factors for expecting the stock to take a hit in March when Apple reports its earnings for its Q2 fiscal year (Q1 calendar year). Among them are the general slowdown in the saturated high-end smartphone market, continued soft demand for the iPhone 5c, overly-optimistic market forecasts for China Mobile sales and a reduction in the number of people upgrading their iPhone as they wait for the rumored larger-screen phone(s) in the fall.

The longer-term outlook is, however, excellent, believes Blair. He expects Touch ID to be rolled out across all iPhones and iPads in readiness for the launch of a mobile payment solution, and he thinks the expected larger iPhone 6 will sell well, especially in Asia.

In terms of completely new products, Blair is predicting the launch of the iWatch in September and a 12-inch display device he expects to see unveiled at WWDC, whether it is the much-rumored iPad Pro or a new 12-inch MacBook Air.

As ever, make your own decisions where investments are concerned …

Via CNET

China Mobile Stories February 24, 2014

Apple suing China’s patent office & Zhizhen Network Technology over Siri

Tim Cook during the China Mobile launch earlier this year

Amid Apple’s push to expand its presence in China with its new deal with China Mobile, AFP reports Apple is suing the State Intellectual Property Office in China as well as Zhizhen Network Technology.

The dispute is not a new one as Zhizhen Network Technology previously sued Apple over disputes with Siri and its Xiao i Robot product, but this time the roles are reversed. Furthermore, Apple is filing suit against the patent office responsible for protecting patent rights after the agency declined to invalidate Zhizhen’s patent, according to the report.

The case will be heard on Thursday by the Beijing Number one Intermediate People’s Court, but no ruling has been announced for the case heard last July yet, so we it may be some time before this concludes.

China Mobile Stories February 19, 2014

Apple’s market share in China started climbing even before China Mobile deal; Russian sales double

While smartphone growth is slowing in China, Apple managed to increase its market share from 6 to 7 percent in the final quarter of 2013, even before the China Mobile deal was struck. IDC figures reported by the WSJ show that Apple is now the fifth largest smartphone seller in the country, behind Samsung, Lenovo, Coolpad and Huawei. Xiaomi sits just behind Apple at 6 percent.

Apple’s share is likely to increase significantly in the current quarter, thanks to finally being sold through China’s largest carrier, China Mobile. The carrier has more than 760M subscribers, and analysts have estimated that the deal will generate between 15M and 30M additional iPhone sales in the course of 2014.

iPhone sales in Russia, meantime, doubled to 1.57M units with a total value of $1B, reports Bloomberg. Apple had struggled to persuade Russian carriers to sell the iPhone due to its high price and laws that forbid carriers from discounting up-front prices in return for signing up to lengthy contracts. After selling through electronics stores, however, three Russian carriers resumed selling iPhones within the past few months.

The so-called BRIC markets – Brazil, Russia, India and China – are of huge importance to Apple now that the U.S. and Europe have reached saturation point. While Apple will never compete in market share with the low-end Android handsets available in these markets, there is still significant growth potential at the high end. In an earlier WSJ interview, Tim Cook said:

I look at the mobile phone market as having three kinds of phones: feature phones, smartphones that function as or are used as feature phones, and real smartphones. I do care about the market share of the last category and you want to be relevant.

The importance of the BRIC markets was illustrated when it was revealed that Apple’s Asian sales had outstripped those of Europe even by Q1 of last year. Next quarter’s China numbers are going to make very interesting reading.

China Mobile Stories January 30, 2014

The changing world map of Apple’s customers in two charts

Apple’s efforts to secure the China Mobile deal were long, drawn out and likely involved rather more negotiation than the company is used to. But if you ever had any doubts as to the importance of those efforts in China, Japan and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, the above two charts, compiled by Fortune, make the reason very clear.

The bad news for Apple is that revenue from its two biggest segments — Europe and the Americas — have begun to contract, not just as a percentage of total revenue, but in dollar terms as well. The good news is that Japan, Asia Pacific and Greater China have so far more than taken up the slack. In Q1 2014, Apple’s combined Asian sales were $17.4 billion, more than Europe ($13 billion) and closing in on the Americas ($20 billion).

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