Apple Signs Historic China Deal: Shares Jump – But Should They?

Apple has now officially announced signing a deal with the world’s biggest cellular operator, China Mobile, who will sell their iPhones for the first time.

The hardware giant will start selling it’s line of iPhones officially in the world’s most populous country very soon, taking orders from December 25, according to AppleInsider.

The cellphones will be used on China Mobile’s 4G and 3G networks. China Mobile has an enormous cellular network, operating 1.2 million base stations, or “cell towers,” and 4.2 million Wi-Fi access points. They will be rolling out more than half a million 4G base stations to give super high speed cellular surfing to 340 cities throughout China.

China Mobile is the world’s biggest mobile operator, servicing an incredible 760 million customers; that’s more than twice the population of the US, according to the Census Clock.

Although China is still somewhat of a communist country, where we think of people riding around on bicycles, there is a growing population of ultra-wealthy Chinese entrepreneurs. So there are a lot of people who will be able to afford the iPhone in the most populous country in the world.

But, China is where they make these phones. In fact, Chinese factories are getting some attention for making competing cell phones that have many of the features and styling cues of their much much more expensive foreign counterparts. On Alibaba, a website that allows private individuals a chance to search through factories all around the world for any and every product, you can find deals on smart phones that knock the socks off anything that Apple is selling with laugh out loud prices.

Take for instance the “New Fashion HTM H9503.” The name is hardly inspiring, I know, but this smartphone is made in mainland China, it has a five inch screen, a dual core 1.3GHz processor, 3G cellular and GPS, it runs on Android, and looks far too much like a Samsung Galaxy S4 – except that this model can take three Sim cards! – but the best bit has to be the price, it costs just $103! OFF CONTRACT!

Now, I’m not comparing them, and there’s no doubt that the quality of a genuine iPhone blows away the HTM, but the cheapest iPhone 5S on ebay right now, unlocked, is going for $834. So, if you were a Chinese person, and you’re going to pay less than the price on Alibaba, and you certainly don’t have to pay for international shipping, does it really make sense to spend eight times more for a phone that is not only made in China, but has a picture of a bitten apple on the back?

The truth is that the Chinese, for all their bad reputation at knocking off brand names and designer labels, still appreciate the value of a strong brand. The successful ones with the cash love it; they’ll spend money to prove they’ve got it, and it doesn’t matter if you’re in San Francisco or Shanghai, money is a status symbol and it matters, so Apple will do well because they’re expensive.

Would you risk the Chinese alternative, or will you not settle for anything less than the genuine iPhone 5S? For a hundred bucks, it might not be such a bad idea to risk it… but would you?

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