Why is China Struggling to Embrace the iPhone? - Page 2
Therefore it can be said that the iPhone is an extremely capable and functional device, but only in the right environment. Remove any smartphone from its lifeline, namely fast 3G networks, and you’ll have a highly frustrated end user. This has proved the case in China, where slow network speeds prevent users from accessing higher bandwidth content. This has led to almost half of China’s 30 million iPhone users jailbreaking their devices and using unauthorized networks like China Mobile. There are other reasons for jailbreaking: texting in Chinese proved so laborious that users unlocked their phones to install third-party software in order to simplify the process.
Adding insult to injury, Apple fans in China were hugely disappointed when it emerged that the iPhone 4S’ highly praised voice activated assistant called Siri couldn’t speak Mandarin. Users are being assured by staff at the Apple store in Shanghai that the next generation iPhone will indeed run a version of Siri in Mandarin. Until this happens however, Chinese consumers will continue to jailbreak their expensive iPhones. Then they’ll struggle with slow Internet speeds and create their own software to carry out the most elementary of tasks, like writing an sms. Quite simply, the difficulty involved in running an iPhone in China isn’t worth the trouble involved, nor the money for that matter.
In most countries, iPhones are beautiful, highly functional devices, oozing flair and pomp. In China, iPhones are beautiful, limited, and frustrating – flawed items of genius. Telecommunication statistics show that Android is now surpassing iOS as the most popular operating system among smartphone users worldwide. If Apple fail to adjust and offer Chinese users a realistic, ‘value for money’ iPhone experience, their market domination will disappear swiftly. A growing group of competitors are opportunistically eying the situation, including HTC, Nokia, LG and Samsung. For Apple, the stakes couldn’t be higher.