At a time when Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) fans all around the world are eagerly awaiting the launch of two new iPhone models -- the flagship iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C -- on Sept. 10 in the U.S., a report from China claimed that both new handsets will be released in the country only in November.
According to the report from China’s First Financial Daily, Apple is set to release the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C on Nov. 28 in China, a full two months after the rumored unveiling of the handsets in September.
The China launch is expected to be delayed as the upcoming iPhone models are yet to complete the verification process required by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the report said, adding that the next generation iPhone’s chips, manufactured by Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), will support China Mobile’s network standard, the world's largest network carrier.
According to some earlier rumors, Foxconn (TPE:2354) is expected to start manufacturing a version of the iPhone 5C in August, which will support the TDD-LTE standard, used by China Mobile, CNET reported.
The Chinese report in question closely follows a report from Japan’s Nikkei, which says that both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will be released in Japan on Sept. 20 through Apple’s current partner carriers, SoftBank and KDDI.
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Although China is now reportedly responsible for approximately 15 percent of Apple’s revenue each quarter, the company’s growth has slowed in the country recently with a 14 percent year-on-year decline in revenue in the last quarter. However, analysts believe that the new iPhone 5C may help Apple regain its position in the lucrative Chinese smartphone market.
According to Katy Huberty, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, the iPhone 5C could lead to a 13-point boost in smartphone market share for Apple in China, with about half of that gain expected to come at the expense of key rival Samsung's (KRX:005935) market share.
The Morgan Stanley report mentioned a survey of 2,000 Chinese consumers in "Tier 1-2" cities, which showed that the "sweet spot" for the iPhone 5C's pricing among Chinese consumers would be around RMB 4,000 ($486). This price point is higher than earlier estimates of $399, suggesting that Chinese consumers will likely accept the iPhone 5C, which was initially touted as a low-cost phone, as a mid-range device.