Ap­ple seeks to lure cus­tomers

Firm files ap­pli­ca­tions to patent its dual-SIM card tech­nolo­gies, en­abling one phone to sup­port two car­ri­ers

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By MASI masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ap­ple Inc has filed two patent ap­pli­ca­tions in China, in a move to pre­pare for new smart­phone fea­tures that can res­onate with local con­sumers, as the US gi­ant strug­gles with tum­bling sales and mount­ing com­pe­ti­tion in the world’s largest smart­phone arena.

The Cal­i­for­nia-head­quar­tered firm filed two ap­pli­ca­tions to patent its dual-SIM card tech­nolo­gies in China, which en­able one phone to sup­port two car­ri­ers at the same time, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial web­site ofChina’s State In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Of­fice.

The two ap­pli­ca­tions, filed in­Fe­bru­aryandMarch re­spec­tively, are still await­ing ap­proval, and they are Ap­ple’s lat­est ef­forts to lure con­sumers away from com­peti­tors such as Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics Co Ltd and Huawei Tech­nolo­giesCoLtd which have al­ready un­veiled sim­i­lar fea­tures on their top-end de­vices.

Ni­cole Peng, re­search direc­tor at Shang­hai-based con­sul­tancy Canalys, said the dual-SIM card fea­tures are pop­u­lar among busi­ness­men in China and other South­east­ern Asian coun­tries.

“The move can help Ap­ple bat­tle mount­ing com­pe­ti­tion, though it will take time ap­ply the new func­tions smart­phones,” Peng said.

The news came shortly after Ap­ple set up its first China re­search and de­vel­op­ment cen­ter in Bei­jing, with reg­is­tered cap­i­tal of 100 mil­lion yuan ($14.99 mil­lion). The cen­ter will have roughly 500 em­ploy­ees and the to­tal in­vest­ment will be up to 300 mil­lion yuan, the local gov­ern­ment said.

Its lat­est de­vices, the iPhone to to 7 se­ries, also achieved an ini­tial suc­cess among Chi­nese con­sumers, with pre-or­ders of the 7 Plus, and the iPhone 7 in jet-black color, re­port­edly sold out be­fore they hit the streets on Sept 16.

Jin Di, re­search man­ager at IDC China, said un­like West­ern coun­tries which chiefly rely on tele­com car­ri­ers to sell con­tract phones, China has more di­verse retailing chan­nels, in­clud­ing e-com­merce sites and pro­fes­sional con­sumer elec­tronic stores, which prompt more con­sumers to fa­vor dual-SIM card ser­vices.

“Though smart­phones which sup­port mul­ti­ple car­ri­ers only ac­count for a small seg­ment of all hand­sets shipped to China, they have a good pres­ence among the premium sec­tor. The move can help Ap­ple lure buy­ers away from ri­vals, es­pe­cially given op­por­tu­ni­ties brought by Sam­sung’s on­go­ing phone re­call cri­sis,” she added.

China, which had been one of Ap­ple’s largest mar­kets in the past sev­eral years, re­cently be­came a source of dis­ap­point­ment. In the sec­ond quar­ter, the firm saw a 33 per­cent drop in sales in China, its high­est de­cline in all re­gions.

In con­trast, local firms Huawei and Oppo were grow­ing rapidly, see­ing a surge in ship­ments of 15 per­cent and 124 per­cent re­spec­tively dur­ing the same time frame, data from In­ter­na­tional Data Corp show.

REUTERS

Staff mem­bers ap­plaud a cus­tomer as he ar­rives to pur­chase Ap­ple's new iPhone 7 at an Ap­ple store in Bei­jing.

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