The new iPhone 6 was recently released and, in its first weekend alone, Apple sold over 10 million units, which was better than their previous record of 9 million that was sold during the weekend launch last year of the iPhone 5. Of course investors already knew that 4 million of the ubiquitous iPhone smartphones had already been pre-ordered, but the big surprise is that this year’s iPhone launch was a new record and was done without the help of one special place; China.
Now, truth be told last year was the very first time that Apple launched in China at the same time as everywhere else. It goes without saying that China’s an important market for Apple and that it definitely helped boost their sales during the first weekend that the iPhone 5 is available.
That being said, the deal with China Mobile wasn’t actually put in place until December 2013, and the iPhone launched on their network in January of this year. What this means is that last year’s launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C, only China Telecom and China Unicom were actually carrying the iPhone. With over 342 million subscribers however, both carriers helped last year’s total quite nicely.
A regulatory approval to get the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in China officially was approved last week as Apple continues to get China aligned. In fact, there’s only one more approval needed before the newest iPhone can ‘officially’ been released in China.
Unofficially, there’s a grey market that’s quickly emerging to fill the void for iPhones in China, and quite a few ambitious smugglers have been bringing the device into mainland China through Hong Kong, paying hefty premiums along the way. In fact, a gray market iPhone in China goes for about double the retail price.
When you consider that, just like in the last few years when a new iPhone has been released supply constraints kept Apple from selling as many iPhones as people actually wanted to order, the fact that they hit 10 million unit is even more impressive.
This year it’s been difficult to get the iPhone 6 Plus, and orders are already behind from 3 to 4 weeks at this point. In fact, after Apple acknowledged that it forecasted its demand mix incorrectly in 2013, shifting their production capacity to the more popular 5s, it’s possible that the iPhone 6 Plus will have the same situation this year.
At the end of the day, when you consider that one of the biggest markets in the world, China, wasn’t even included in this newest iPhone launch, and that Apple still sold 10 million units, their feat becomes even more impressive. For Apple investors, it’s definitely something to smile about.