iPhone 4 To Be Released in China…Finally

Posted by Greg | September 9, 2010  |  No Comment

Some good news in the World of Chinese Apple lovers! The Chinese Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center has just granted Apple’s iPhone 4 with Wi-Fi capability a network access license. Basically, this means that the official version of the Chinese iPhone 4 can now go in to production and could hit the shelves in stores across China as early as sometime in Mid-September.

Of course there is going to be one MAJOR difference between the Chinese iPhone 4 and those which you may purchase in Hong Kong or elsewhere around the world. The inclusion of the Chinese wireless standard, called WAPI (Wired Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure), i.e. the governments way of censoring everything to your phone. Without this addition to the iPhone 4’s systems the phone wouldn’t be allowed to be sold within the country’s borders. A few other small changes to the iPhone 4 are that the phone will not include YouTube, which makes sense considering you can’t access the website without a VPN anyways, or the sharing photos feature through MobileMe. Thankfully it’s been confirmed to include FaceTime which is one of the coolest things about the new iPhone.

So just to summarize, the iPhone 4 will come with Wi-Fi, will include WAPI and supports HSDPA/HSUPA. China Unicom will be introducing the iPhone 4 throughout China before September 22nd, as will Suning, one of China’s largest technology retailers. Reportedly the launch of the iPhone 4 will be September 16th but that all depends on if China Unicom can get their stuff together and produce/ship enough so they have a large stock on the release date.

There’s only one teensy weensy problem with the Chinese iPhone 4. Considering the phone will not only be manufactured here where prices for doing so are greatly reduced, but on top of that that shipping the phone throughout the country will also cost little to nothing, I figured that the price would at least be lower than prices in the US (where the phone in my opinion is greatly overpriced without a monthly plan). I now consent that I am clearly naïve about just how greedy Chinese executives can be. A 16GB iPhone 4 with a 2-year contract will run you 5880 RMB (around $860 USD), and 6999 RMB (about $1030 USD) for the 32GB version. A thousand bucks for a phone…are you kidding me!? There’s a contract-free price of 6000 RMB ($880 USD), for the 16GB version which makes it SOO much more worth it…(get used to the sarcasm). All in all it’d probably be cheaper and more fun to go to Hong Kong and pick up an unlocked 16GB iPhone 4 for only $4988 HKD ($640 USD).

There is a positive side to this whole, ridiculously overpriced official iPhone 4, thing though. And that’s the fact that you may be able to find a US version of the iPhone 4 in black markets at reduced prices because sellers are worried that their customers will no longer come to them for their iPhone needs once they’re available through legal retailers.

Sources: Sina (1), (2), (3)

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