China is one of the biggest tech markets to reach, if not the biggest. Facebook has realized it and is currently working on making its way in. Likewise, Apple has noticed that the nation responsible for 1/6 of the world population is the next major target. That’s why investment bank Morgan Stanley believes Apple will partner with both China Telecom and China Mobile to make its iPhone available on all three Chinese carriers. Such a move could result in the sale of up to 40 million iPhones within a year.
According to a note issued by Analyst Katy Huberty, Apple’s current partnership with China Unicom only has a reach of a mere 10 percent of the nation’s 150 million “high-end” subscribers. Partnering with China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier, would add on another 80 percent and China Telecom would bring in the remaining 10 percent. Huberty has estimated 26 million incremental iPhone sales in China during 2013 if Apple partners with the two carriers. She projects that, in total, there will be 40 million unit sales in 2013, resulting in an increase of $10 in earnings per share.
Additionally, a Stanley survey late last year revealed that the iPhone had passed Nokia to become the number one smartphone in China with 40 percent of respondents indicating that the iPhone was their first choice for a 3G smartphone. Even Apple, usually mum on their plans in the public, commented on the large Chinese demand for the iPhone during its last fiscal quarter result call with analysts. When the 4S hit China this month, the high volumes forced the postponement of sales at all five of Apple’s official Retail Stores. Even the Chinese Apple online store still lists all iterations of the iPhone as “sold out.”
When Apple announced that it had reached an all-time high of 37 million units in its last fiscal quarter, it amazed everyone. Can you imagine what kind of damage the iPhone could do if it finally lands on two extremely large carriers in China? Look out China, Apple’s coming for you.