) long-awaited smartphone has defied expectations in China by
selling more than two million units during its first weekend of
availability. While the Chinese market has always been a
promising sector for Apple, the Cupertino, California-based tech
encountered a few challenges when it failed to secure long lines
last weekend. At one prominent Apple Store in China,
only one person
waited outside before the store opened. At another location, no
more than two people showed up.
This scenario was a strong reminder of the lukewarm reception
Apple received when the third-generation iPad was released in
China. At that time,
a mere 30 people
lined up to buy the device.
Despite the small lines, the iPad eventually went on to become
the most successful iPad in China. During the third quarter,
Apple dominated the industry with a
70 percent share
of the Chinese market. As impressive as that was, however, Apple
still only sold an estimated 1.8 million tablets.
Apple's success with the iPhone 5 is far more intriguing. Not
only did the company sell
than two million units in a weekend (topping iPad sales that
occurred in an
), but Apple managed to pull this off without attracting a large
crowd at any one particular store.
This could teach Apple a thing or two about the Chinese
market. Whereas most people assume that smartphones have the
potential to draw long lines throughout the world (as evidenced
one of the many
Apple clones in China), it appears that Chinese consumers may be
different. They do need to wait in line for a week to buy the
latest and greatest smartphone; they will simply walk into a
store and buy it whenever they please.
Apple may try to change this mentality by hyping the
that accompany most iDevice launches. That strategy may not be
successful, however. While it is enough to get Americans to
line up for hours
, it may not be enough to motivate Chinese customers.
motivate them, however. It could have been the sleeker, thinner
and longer design. Others may have been persuaded by the reduced
weight or the enhanced camera. New iPhone customers likely
purchased the device to take advantage of the App Store. Some may
have bought it simply because it is a hot new gadget.
"Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible,
setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in
China," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a
. "China is a very important market for us and customers there
cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products."
Whatever the case, Apple's ongoing marketing campaign is
working. It may not dominate the Chinese smartphone space, and it
may not have signed a deal with China Mobile, the nation's
largest carrier. Apple is, however, making tremendous
Thus far, investors have not been too inspired by this
development. In pre-market trading, the iPhone maker is up less
than one percent.
(c) 2012 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.