China’s status as the largest smartphone market in the world, even beating out the U.S., may be cemented into 2012.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party’s Paper, the People’s Daily, has confirmed that the iPhone 4s will be released in China before the Chinese New Year on January 23rd. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China ahas issued the network entry permit and then the China Compulsory Certification was given out on December 22nd. All this basically means is that all of the requirements for a new device to enter the Chinese markets have been now met by the iPhone 4s.
As of the third financial quarter of 2011, China reached 23.9 million smartphone unit shipments. This is more than the 23.3 million that the U.S. can claim for the same period. The sales for this region in general show an increase of 270%, making the Chinese market areas, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, the fastest growing market for Apple.
What this means for now is a great coming first and second financial quarters for Apple in 2012, but it also should impact the greater development of further devices. As we wait for the iPhone 5 we have to note that the design characteristics are heavily influenced by market demands, and now the U.S. market is not dominant. Unlike in most consumer markets where the consumers themselves are the main consideration of product design, the safeguards on the Chinese economy will limit certain trade and innovation. This means that device development will be done with specific Chinese restrictions in mind, so the rumor mill should begin looking at these permits as a way of seeing what may or may not be included on the coming iPhone 5.