Apple designs and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers and also operates retail stores. Its best-known hardware products are the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone – Apple is the world’s third largest mobile phone-maker after Samsung and Nokia.
China's iPhone 5 could be the most expensive in Asia
The iPhone 5 has been on the grey market in mainland China for more than two months now so most diehard Apple fans who want one, should already have one.
Still, the smartphone will fetch one of the highest handset prices in Asia. The first shipment of iPhone 5s is expected to reach the mainland's seven Apple stores on December 14.
According to Apple, the 16GB iPhone 5 will be priced at 5,288 yuan (US$850), about 20 per cent higher than in Hong Kong, and 30 per cent higher than in the United States. The 32GB models will sell for 6,088 yuan and the 64GB for 6,888 yuan – much closer to European price points.
Getting past the layers of bureaucracy as well as China's stringent telecoms regulator have become huge barriers to entry for Apple and mainland companies looking to offer the iPhone.
Other Apple products are also signficantly more expensive in mainland China. The Wi-fi version of the iPad mini is about 400 yuan (US$65) more expensive than it is in the US.
Disgruntled consumers have taken to social media to express dissatisfication with the pricing strategy.
"Looks like money from us Chinese consumers is still better for companies to earn nowadays," wrote one blogger on Sina Weibo, China's main microblogging service.
High prices, a prolonged delay and cheaper handsets on sale in neighbouring Hong Kong are still unlikely to deter China’s Apple fanatics, however, from getting their hands on the new iPhone.
China Telecom, one half of China's iPhone vending duopoly, has been taking pre-orders since November 20. China Unicom, its main rival and China's second-largest carrier took in more than 100,000 online orders just on December 4, news site Sina Tech reported.
China is Apple's second-largest market after the United States.
Here’s a list of iPhone handset prices around the world compared with China:
|United States **||$649||$749||$849|
Prices collated from Apple websites. Tax not included.
* Not released
** Unlocked version