In late August, Apple and China Unicom announced they had reached a multi-year deal to launch the widely popular iPhone in the world’s largest mobile market later this year.
For a company with a tiny market share in Asia, Apple has an outsized reputation.
According to technology market-research firm IDC, Apple held just a 1.6% share of the personal-computer market in Asia in the second quarter of this year, and a 0.6% sliver of the region’s mobile-phone market.
Apple’s sharp rise reflects its fast-growing global reputation as a trend-setting technology company that continually turns out iconic products backed by unparalleled marketing savvy. Apple might not be a big player in Asia, in terms of market share, but the company’s reputation looms large.
Bryan Ma, the Singapore-based director of personal systems research at IDC, said, "Even if they don’t have a big presence, they are tremendously successful at marketing themselves. Look at the entire experience and aura they create, especially this globally connected age; everyone is hearing about this whole iPhone phenomenon, and can see their earnings are doing very well. Even if their market share isn’t so big out here, these are things that businesspeople and executives in Asia would certainly respect and admire."
Apple’s focus remains on its core US market, and also on Europe. In the second quarter of the year, Apple shipped 53% of its Macintosh computers to the US, 24% to Western Europe and 14% to Asia.
While the company’s iconic iPod is popular in Asia, Apple’s iTunes store remains out of the reach of most Asian consumers.
Apple opened its first company-owned Apple retail store in Asia, outside of Japan, in China last year. Meanwhile, it has signed agreements with Asian mobile-phone carriers outside of Japan to distribute its iPhone in the past 12 months. In late August, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. announced a three-year deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in China later this year.
Wall Street Journal states that with the release of the iPhone, Apple’s profile in Asia, especially in China, can but expand.