You might think that the iPhone proliferation in China isn't a big deal to those of us in the US. Or that it should not matter to my friends in EU, India, other parts of Asia or my new friends on Google+ from South America but it does. China will soon have one billion mobile phone users. And it's anyone's guess that many more phones are in actual use. You have to assume some folks carry more than one mobile device.
According to Phone Arena, China Telecom and China Mobile will join China Unicom, the only authorized iPhone carrier right now, in offering the next iPhone as soon as this fall. If true, it underscores just how important a market that China is to Apple. Obviously, not all one billion users will buy a smartphone but a major of them will.
Even if only 50% of the Chinese market embraces the smartphones, that is 500 million users. And if Apple capture just 25% of the smartphone market, that is 125 million iPhones. And there is no reason to believe that a higher percentage of the Chinese market won't adopt the smartphone or that Apple won't be able to take a bigger piece of the pie.
No matter how you slice it, Apple is going to be selling iOS devices in the hundreds of millions – just in China alone.
And trying to move up the iPhone launches in Greater China makes a lot of sense for Apple. In its most recent quarter, Apple saw its revenue from this market jumped six times (PC World). To put this another way, Apple surpassed Chinese tech firm Lenovo (Taipei Times, Bloomberg) in revenue and, likely, profit as well. For Lenovo, having home field advantage is not help. But then, can Lenovo or anyone else claim brand and image conscious China its home market but Apple?
Going forward, I expect Apple's mobile strategy to have a more profound impact from Chinese influence and that in turn will shape mobile experiences else where.