Websites cash in on iPhone

By Wang Xing (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-12-25 10:16

Apple Inc has yet to introduce its iPhone to the Chinese market, but already the product's popularity here is huge.

This has spurred the nation's many YouTube-style websites to launch new formats specially designed for iPhone users, to capitalize on increasing fervor for Apple's latest offering.

"We kicked off an iPhone-version website three weeks ago because we found many Chinese high-end users are using iPhones but having difficulty watching online videos," said Kitty Zhou, founder and CEO of, one of the nation's largest video-sharing websites.

The iPhone isn't available in China yet. But many Chinese have bought the product overseas, through foreign friends or on the black market.

Although iPhone provides default access to YouTube, the world's largest video-sharing website, this service isn't available in China - and that's creating an opportunity for local video websites.

"Although iPhone has yet to be officially introduced to the Chinese market, it's already got a lot of fans here," said David Li, CEO of, a Chinese YouTube-style website backed by Brad Greenspan, the founder of MySpace.

Li said his company launched an iPhone-version website earlier this month and is getting nearly 10,000 hits a day.

"Although the new website only represents a small fraction of our daily traffic, the users often have a higher income and so are more valuable to us," he said.

According to local research firm Analysys International, China's cellphone sales reached 93 million last year and will surpass 100 million by the end of 2007, creating a huge market for manufacturers like Nokia, Motorola and Samsung.

Earlier reports said Apple Inc and China Mobile were in talks to bring the iPhone to China, but insiders expect a lengthy negotiation ahead to work out revenue-sharing arrangements.

"Watching online videos on mobile phones or multimedia devices is a future trend," said Tracy Deng, vice-president of, one of China's first video-sharing websites, which launched a new website format for mobile phone users two months ago.

"The 3G network will enable not only iPhone users but many other cellphone users to watch online videos on their mobiles," she said. "But before that, we have to prepare."

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