Since 2007, the mobile marketing industry has grown almost in lockstep with the iPhone’s progress. Where the iPhone goes, so too does the opportunity for reaching new audiences with applications and campaigns tailored to any number of diverse marketing purposes.
For mobile marketers, the prospect of reaching a whole new world of potential via the introduction of the iPhone into the Chinese marketplace has been one of the most exciting prospects to come down the pike in a long while. Yet, what helped make the iPhone such a ubiquitous device in the USA and Europe – its affordable price tag – won’t likely follow its introduction to China.
And that has some mobile marketers concerned.
According to Reuters, China Unicom will introduce the iPhone in October at an estimated retail price of 5,000 yuan. That’s approximately $730. A number of mobile analysts have already been quoted in the media today acknowledging that this high pricing will likely – at first, anyway – restrict the phones to the relatively small pool of high end consumers in China.
It should be noted, however, that the iPhone doesn’t come with a very cheap price tag elsewhere in Asia either. In Hong Kong, for example, the iPhone will you cost you approximately $695, only $35 less than the expected asking price in China.
The high price of the iPhone will all but certainly keep its diffusion in China at a minimum for the remainder of this year. But as China’s 3G network takes root and demand increases, it doesn’t seem like a wise or sustainable plan for the iPhone to remain at such high retail prices beyond the short term. Until then, mobile marketers will sadly encounter more barriers than initially imaged in dispersing their work within the largest mobile community on the planet.