iPhone 5 coming to China… wait… what?


We could have sworn that they were already in China, as in manufactured there, but apparently the iPhone 5 and iPad will soon be available in Chinese retail outlets.

CNET reports that the diminutive tablet will be available starting December 7, along with the larger fourth-generation iPad. The iPhone 5 hits stores a week later:

“Consumers in China will be able to get all three gadgets through the Apple Online Store, select Apple resellers and by reservation from Apple retail stores.

China is of huge significance for Apple, accounting for approximately 15 percent ($23.8 billion) of the company’s revenue for the fiscal year that ended in September. At the time, CEO Tim Cook said that Apple was projecting the arrival of the iPhone 5 in China during the December quarter.

It was just in recent days that the iPhone 5 passed its final regulatory hurdles.

In the face of vibrant competition, Apple recently slipped out of the top five smartphone vendors in China. Researcher Canalys said earlier this month that in the third quarter, the iPhone’s share of shipments into the Chinese smartphone market dropped slightly to 8 percent. Market leader Samsung had 14 percent, and Chinese manufacturers accounted for the other four spots in the top five.”

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Chuck Jones at Forbes has some sales estimates that will likely not please Apple execs.

“Apple has launched the iPhone 5 in over 100 countries and over 250 carriers, more than what the company had indicated.  While there are still some minor supply constraints I believe that the bulk of iPhone 5 sales in China will occur in the March 2013 quarter, similar to what occurred this year with the iPhone 4S.

I am estimating that Apple can sell 50 million iPhones in the December quarter and expect 43 million to be sold in the March 2013 quarter, a 14% quarter to quarter decrease.  This compares to the 5% quarter to quarter decline that occurred this year when iPhone shipments dropped from 37 million in the December 2011 quarter to 35 million in the March 2012 quarter.”

Things are looking up for Samsung.

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