Sell­ers mak­ing clear prof­its on Google glass

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By GAO YUAN in Bei­jing gaoyuan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

As Google Inc’s An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tem en­ters China’s smart­phone mar­ket, its sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Google Glass de­vice is at­tract­ing in­ter­est from Chi­nese con­sumers days af­ter a brief one-day sale to the gen­eral pub­lic.

Chi­nese on­line sell­ers are skat­ing into the Glass mar­ket in a bid to sell more gad­gets in a coun­try where of­fi­cial pur­chase is not avail­able.

On Taobao, the Chi­nese ver­sion of eBay, nearly 70 sell­ers are of­fer­ing au­then­tic Google Glass de­vices priced be­tween 12,000 yuan ($1,930) and 30,000 yuan. The of­fi­cial re­tail price tag was $1,500. Google Glass is a wear­able com­puter with an op­ti­cal head-mounted dis­play, with in­for­ma­tion ac­ces­si­ble in a smart­phone­like hands-free for­mat.

Not only do we of­fer the Glass, we also pro­vide free train­ing, so our cus­tomers will quickly mas­ter how the prod­uct func­tions and make bet­ter us­age of it,” said Xiao Feng, a Taobao mer­chant. A num­ber of on­line sell­ers of­fer paid Chi­nese lan­guage tu­to­ri­als on­line. For a few hun­dred yuan, new Google Glass own­ers can get an as­sis­tant to go over the ba­sics with them. Sell­ing at 12,999 yuan each, Xiao’s vir­tual bou­tique has sold nearly 170 smart glasses over the past month, one of the high­est on Taobao.

Some of the prod­ucts were pur­chased at a dis­count on April 15, ac­cord­ing to Xiao, who re­fused to dis­close the ex­act amount that was paid.

Zhang Tong­tong, an­other ven­dor, said the com­pe­ti­tion is heat­ing up as more shops have opened since the be­gin­ning of this year. “The prod­ucts are the same, but you have to pro­vide bet­ter af­ter-sale ser­vices to get buy­ers’ at­ten­tion,” Zhang said, adding that he of­fers one­week de­liv­ery. “But that’s not enough. I am re­turn­ing 200 yuan to buy­ers af­ter they re­ceive the prod­uct.”In ad­di­tion to the glasses, Zhang’s store sells other Google de­vices that are not for sale on the Chi­nese main­land. “Last sum­mer, the Google Nexus 5 was very pop­u­lar with Chi­nese buy­ers. I made a for­tune off it be­cause I was one of the first to sell the smart­phone on Taobao,” he said. Google has been try­ing to build a stronger soft­ware net­work be­fore mak­ing the Glass widely avail­able.

The com­pany did not re­veal how many units have been sold and it is un­clear how many are owned by Chi­nese users.“I think most of the Chi­nese who bought Google Glass did it for pure fun,” said Wang Song, CEO of a Bei­jing-based In­ter­net com­pany and owner of two Google Glass de­vices. He bought the de­vices on busi­ness trips to the United States as an ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­oper. “A lot of fea­tures need to be en­hanced on the Glass. The sec­ond gen­er­a­tion is the same as the pre­vi­ous one ex­cept a head­set was added,” Wang noted.

REUTERS/ INTS KALNINS

De­vel­oper Max­i­m­il­iano Firt­man wears the pro­to­type de­vice Google Glass at a news con­fer­ence ahead of the 2013 Ri­gaComm event in Riga.

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