The CEO of China Unicom has conceded that the current iPhone sales figures need bolstering and the pricing strategy will be refined over coming weeks as the carrier embarks on its first iPhone ad campaign.
China Unicom chairman and CEO, Chang Xiaobing, told Bloomberg that “the sales numbers we have right now, we certainly hope they can be better, but, overall, the market reception is pretty good.”
Chang said that with Unicom’s iPhone only having been on the market for just two weeks, and consumers needed more time to get familiar with it.
The carrier sold around 5,000 iPhones in the first week of retail trading from October 30.
The figure is a stark contrast to Orange UK’s recent first-day sales, where the carrier boasted iPhone sales of 30,000 on the first day of trading. While in the US Apple shifted 1 million iPhone 3GS handsets within three days of its June debut.
China Unicom’s sluggish iPhone sales results have been attributed to a high retail sales price of 7,999 yuan ($1,172), which is partly subsidized throughout the lifespan of the customer contract.
Chang defended the pricing stating that it is set according to market rules. “Actually with our subsidy, customers pay less for the handset compared to the price on the gray market.”
He said that demanding upfront credit from customers made the iPhone appear expensive. But he said that as the marketing campaign continues to ramp up, “we will fine tune our pricing strategy.”
A significant ad campaign starting on November 16, should also amplify sales, he said.
“We are now focused on subscriber growth,” he said. The carrier is targeting take up of 1 million subscribers to its 3G services each month.