According to the Associated Press, the iPhone has finally officially launched in China, with one major feature missing: built-in Wi-Fi. A ban on Wi-Fi by the Chinese government had forced Apple to produce iPhones with Wi-Fi removed specifically for sale in China, but the ban on Wi-Fi had been lifted shortly after Apple started producing the modified iPhones.
With the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity in the iPhones that had gone on sale today, many are speculating on why the devices remain so expensive. The relatively high price may be due to competition with unlocked iPhones from the United States and other countries that are being sold on the streets for a cheaper price and no contract. The imported iPhones reportedly cost Chinese buyers up to 20% less than the official Chinese version in stores. An estimated 1.5 to 2 million imported iPhones are already operating on China’s Unicom carrier network.
So far, Apple has refrained from offering public sales targets for the Chinese market. A rumor had gone around in the past claiming that China’s Unicom carrier had committed to purchasing 5 million iPhones for sale on its network, although it was quickly denied by a spokesperson for the carrier.
To be honest, if I lived in China, I would most likely buy a 3G S with Wi-Fi on the streets rather than pay 20% more for a legit Chinese iPhone without Wi-Fi capabilities, wouldn’t you? Leave feedback in the comments.