The iPhone 6 has notched a million preorders in China ahead of its retail launch, meaning Apple has finally struck gold in a nation where its smartphone efforts have historically struggled. The number is paltry compared to the four million preorders which the new iPhone had in the United States. But it represents a fundamental shift in Apple’s worldwide phone strategy, and one which could prompt its marketshare numbers to skyrocket over the next year.
Take a survey of what’s in the hands of random people walking down the sidewalk, and you’ll probably count at least as many iPhones as all Android phones put together (unless you’re in Silicon Valley). But take a look at the worldwide marketshare numbers and suddenly it appears as if the iPhone is leagues behind. That’s largely a result of the fact that Apple has historically not bothered to push the iPhone in nations where it couldn’t put together what it considered a decent user experience with any of that nation’s carriers (this tendency dates back to when Apple launched the iPhone in the United States on just AT&T).
That’s resulted in the iPhone having literally zero percent marketshare in some rather populous nations like India. iPhone sales in China weren’t much better. But Apple finally struck a deal with major Chinese carriers, and the iPhone 6 is the first Apple smartphone to launch on those carriers from day one. Skeptics have asked whether it’s too late for the iPhone to gain a foothold in nations where it basically hasn’t existed up to this point. But the million preorders suggest otherwise.
This is of course just the first number when it comes to measuring the iPhone 6 sales potential in China and other nations where Apple is just now fully getting the ball rolling. The opening weekend retail sales numbers in China will be more illustrative, and it won’t be until the first monthly and annual sales numbers come in before the potential in the region begins to spell itself out. But this initial number suggests Apple is about to strike gold in the region.