China's second largest cell phone carrier said today they expect the iPhone to attract over one tenth of China's third generation (3G) users in the next couple of years.
A senior executive from China Unicom told China Daily that Chinese business users have showed great interests in Apple Inc's popular smartphone. "We expect the handset to attract over 10 percent of China’s 3G users in the following two to three years," said the executive, who declined to be named.
The executive's remarks came shortly after Unicom's chairman Chang Xiaobing said on Tuesday that he expects iPhone to become China's best-selling smart phone.
Unicom was reported to have sold fewer iPhones than analysts anticipated in the product's debut last month, raising concerns the price is too high to attract customers in the world's biggest mobile phone market.
The Unicom executive refuted that the pricing of iPhone is unaffordable. He said the pricing is "very reasonable for those who spend heavily on their phone bills every month."
According to the company, an iPhone without contract costs as much as 6,999 yuan ($1,025) in China, compared with $299 in the United States.
The product will be free when customers select a two-year service plan that cost 886 yuan per month, with Unicom repaying pre-pay bills of up to 7,999 yuan.
China Unicom has 1.02 million 3G subscribers as of the end of October, the company's Hong Kong-listed arm said in a filing to the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing on Nov 19.