Interesting, and best analysis I’ve seen on why the iPhone seems to be a sleeper in China.
I’m not sure I actually believe the numbers that have been thrown around; only Apple and China Unicom know for sure, but if media reports are to be believed the iPhone isn’t off to a good start.
Shaun Rein, reporting for Forbes says:
The phone is being sold packaged with monthly subscription plans, just as in the U.S., but the vast majority of Chinese prefer to buy pay-as-you-go charge cards. Top-up cards can be bought and recharged cheaply at street vendors everywhere in less than 30 seconds, with no identification required. Subscribing by the month is a pain.
Apple has shown they are willing to change the way they sell the iPhone depending on different market preferences. If it really is the case that the iPhone isn’t selling well in its current form I’d expect them to change the model quickly.
In Australia, iPhone’s are available on Prepaid so there’s no reason the same couldn’t apply in China too.