Unlocked iPhone firmware version 2.Image via Wikipedia

For China Unicom, currently China’s second-largest mobile phone provider, an expected deal to distribute Apple‘s iPhone in the world’s mist connected nation might be a hit, Shaun Rein does expect major bears on the way for iPod, he tells Brand Republic Asia. Apple will have to make a huge effort to cash in on the high expectations.

Shaun Rein, managing director of China Media Research (CMR), noted that alignment with China Unicom could be a “game changer” for China Unicom, which he said suffers from low consumer satisfaction rates compared to its bigger rival.

“The only reason to use [China Unicom] would be because of Apple,” Rein said, stating that there was a large, enthusiastic market for the iPhone in China. “It’s clear that Chinese consumers love the iPhone and are willing to pay a premium for it.”

Nonetheless, Rein pointed to reluctance among many potential consumers to sign up to the required monthly contract. The majority of Chinese mobile users favour a monthly prepaid system, he said. “Unicom will have to make the [subscription] process much easier.”

But he added that with around two million iPhones already in unofficial use across the country, a bigger challenge faced by Apple was that of premature saturation. “Apple will have to make sure they are selling the newest and best product,” he observed.

shaunreinShaun Rein by Fantake via Flickr

Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. When you want him at your conference, do let us know.

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