What's Really Behind The iPhone's China Problem

Among the markets that Apple hasn't quite been able to crack with their iPhone, China has to be the most frustrating. It's a huge opportunity that's being missed. And now we finally exactly why.

Of course, the black market has always played a role, as have cheap and widely available knock-off products. But the real problem, according to a recent survey in the WSJ? Apple's feckless carrier partner, China Unicom.

Less than 10 per cent of survey respondents - mobile users between 22 and 32 - are signed up with China Unicom, and the majority of those that are self-identified as dissatisfied customers. Rival carrier China Mobile, however, was thought to be more reliable and to provide better coverage by 95 per cent of those surveyed.

There are other factors at play, of course; less wireless penetration in China than in the US, that black/grey market opportunity, the mandatory two-year contract. But - as Google learned, in part, with the Nexus One - important to remember the impact that a carrier can have on the fate of a phone, and that unpopular partners lead to unpopular products. [WSJ]

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