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Apple iPhone prices may drop in China

By Wang Xing and Qiang Xiaoji (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2010-03-05 14:44
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The top executive of China Unicom said today that the company hopes the sale price of iPhone will be cheaper in China.

"For Chinese consumers, the sales price for iPhone should be the-cheaper-the-better, and we totally understand that," said Chang Xiaobing, chairman of China's No 2 cellphone carrier, at the opening of the annual National People's Congress in Beijing on Friday.

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But he noted that Unicom does not have a total say on any price reduction because it has to get the nod from Apple.

Chang's remark seems to be in line with earlier reports that Unicom may reduce the price of iPhones by 20 to 30 percent at the end of March. The Beijing Morning News cited a report earlier this week from Merrill Lynch that Unicom may lower the iPhone price to 3,000 yuan ($439.46) to 3,500 yuan from the current 4,999 yuan to 6,999 yuan.

Chang also confirmed that Unicom and Apple are discussing the possibility of delivering an "official" WiFi-enabled iPhone to China.

China Unicom adopted a high pricing strategy for Apple Inc's smartphone in China. Many analysts believe that the high pricing has driven away many Chinese consumers and even turned them to dealers of smuggled iPhones.

China Unicom said it has sold more than 300,000 iPhones in China in the two months since it launched the popular smartphone in China in October.