Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is ready to kick off its China Mobile launch with a bang. A new report surfaced that Foxconn shipped about 1.4 million iPhone 5S units for the launch at China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941).
Apple could sell about 30 million iPhone 5S
Some analysts believe Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s deal with the world’s largest phone carrier will help the iPhone 5S maker sell anywhere from 10 million to 30 million smartphones in 2014. One insider who is knowledgeable of Apple’s upcoming launch added, “Shipping one million or more iPhones to a single carrier per month is substantial. But we have limited visibility beyond this month as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hasn’t informed Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354) of the volume for the next shipment to China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941).”
Although this is exciting news for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), a new report from Wedge Partners predicts the demand for the iPhone 5S through China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941) may be lower than with other carriers. The low demand for the latest Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) smartphones through China Telecom Corporation Limited (NYSE:CHA) (HKG:0728) and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited (NYSE:CHU) has both carriers offering specials and promotions to keep their subscribers.
iPhone sale numbers shrinking
Gartner analyst Sandy Shen added, “We have seen fading enthusiasm for iPhones compared with the past few years as we have more choices in China now. There has been no dramatic change to the iPhone, and consumers want a larger screen size.” During the first quarter of 2013, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) sold a total of 18.5 million iPhones in China. That number increased by 28% from 2012, but the overall growth rate has slowed thanks to competition. China’s market share came in fifth place with 6% of market share during the third quarter of 2013.
Shen also explained, “Shipping one million or more iPhones to China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941) every month would be significant to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as its average monthly iPhone sales in China is only about two million.”
The one thing that could separate China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941) from competitors and give them a leg up in competition is its 4G network. Apple’s official retail outlets and other resellers will likely sell more iPhones that run on 4G.