At 6:00 p.m. Beijing time today (October 30, 2009) the iPhone was officially launched in China. The Place in Beijing served as the launch festivities venue. The Place is also home to China Unicom’s flagship ”Wo” 3G Store.
China Unicom CEO Chang Xiaobing attended the ceremony along with Unicom GM LU Yimin. The honor of selling the first iPhone in China went to Unicom Deputy GM Li Gang, who has been at the center of China Unicom’s iPhone negotiations and made several trips to Cupertino. The first official iPhone in China was sold to Liu Xin-Ling.
Apple VP for iPhone Product Marketing Greg Joswiak (“Jos”) was present and delivered a speech. Jos highlighted the synergies between Apple and China Unicom and noted that both companies would promote iPhone in China.
The China Unicom iPhone comes preloaded with many “for China” apps and will be able to access the China Unicom “Wo” Portal (services include Mobile TV) and Apple’s China App Store. The official iPhones come with a warranty and can easily be updated without “bricking” concerns that affect grey-market iPhones.
Media in the US seem to be hyperventilating over the “bare metal” (Chinese expression for “no contract”) price point for the 32GB iPhone 3GS – 6999 yuan (USD $1027). What they conveniently miss is that there are many price/plan options that dramatically reduce the price of iPhone for those willing to go on contract. There are also four (4) price/plan options that allow the buyer to purchase the iPhone for $0.00 (free).
While most journalists focused their attention on the launch event in Beijing, 30 major cities across China held their own launch ceremonies. iPhone sales commenced immediately following the Beijing launch event. The rain was falling in Beijing, but that did not deter the many hundreds who lined up at the Apple Store in Sanlitun Village.
Photos below are courtesy CCID
The following is the transcript of the opening ceremonies speech delivered by the General Manager of China Unicom, LU Yi-min:
LU Yi-min: Dear Mr. Greg Joswiak, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, friends, everyone Good evening!
Today, China Unicom and Apple jointly invite you in Beijing in this fashion to “The Place”, held in China to participate in joint sales iPhone debut ceremony. First of all, on behalf of China Unicom, the activities of the guests attending today to express my sincere thanks and warmest welcome!
As we all know, iPhone through its beautiful appearance, multi-touch wide-screen design, and Internet applications, in a short period of time to become the world’s 3G mobile phones to make an outstanding, in a short span of two years on the world’s have tens of millions of iPhone loyal users.
In China, as the world’s largest mobile phone users market, we have hundreds of millions of consumers, is looking forward to an early date in China Unicom’s 3G networks have a iPhone, experience iPhone, enjoy the iPhone.
After China Unicom and Apple’s efforts, today, we long-awaited iPhone finally the mainland China market, in today’s day of celebration Let’s look forward to jointly participate in a common witness this exciting moment!
The leading 3G network and the leading 3G mobile phones complement each other early this year, China Unicom WCDMA 3G network to obtain a license in the shortest possible time, built-in became the country’s largest WCDMA 3G network. October 1 China Unicom 385 cities across the country issued a formal commercial 3G, after such a short period of development, I am very pleased to tell you that China Unicom’s 3G users in the end of this month, has already exceeded one million.
I am confident that China Unicom and Apple joined forces, with China Unicom’s WCDMA 3G network and the iPhone, the perfect combination of exciting, our Chinese consumers will on China Unicom’s WCDMA network, to further enjoy the perfect, brilliant 3G experience.
Today, five Chinese-listed version of the iPhone mobile phone iPhone covers three generations of a full range of products, today’s ceremony of the first sales will also have a Chinese version of the first iPhone who purchase tomorrow, China Unicom will be held simultaneously in 30 provincial capital cities of the iPhone ceremony.
Today, I would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of China Unicom’s purchase of the iPhone queue outside waiting for the vast number of users to express my sincere thanks to you and wish you good luck! I wish, iPhone updates in the Chinese market to achieve greater glory, I wish the China Unicom and Apple’s co-operation to achieve greater results, but also wish the majority of iPhone users will be in China Unicom’s “Wo 3G” network to enjoy to the more fertile 3G wonderful life.