Apple has unveiled the final details of its first-ever smart wearable gadget Apple Watch this Monday in San Francisco. The product will be open for pre-orders on April 10th and start shipping on April 24th.
After the disappointment of repeatedly missing out on the first wave of various iPhone releases, China will be one of nine regions to get the Apple Watch from its global debut in April. China is becoming an increasingly critical pillar of Apple’s business. A report by UBS showed that the country represented up to 35% of iPhone shipments in the last quarter of 2014, overtaking the U.S. (29%) as the largest market for Apple.
In order to better localize its services for Chinese buyers, the smartwatch has added support for several popular Chinese apps, including WeChat, Alipay and Weibo. Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of technology, demonstrated the watch’s features, including the use of these domestic third-party apps, at their press conference.
Apple Watch owners will be able to receive and send WeChat messages, and to browse the Moments of their WeChat friends, via their watches.
WeChat interface on Apple Watch
Alipay disclosed that they have finalized the development of an Apple Watch version, sporting simplified features. Only three functions that best suit small-screen operations are included: the mutual fund service Yuebao, QR code for mobile payment, and currency exchange.
Pricing is definitely among the biggest concerns for Chinese buyers. The price comparison chart for Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and the U.S shows China is still paying a premium. Despite the Apple Watch being on the Chinese market from the beginning, the profits offered by the price gap may well motivate scalpers to smuggle watches across the border into the Chinese mainland.
Image credit: Tech Tencent
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)