Apple’s having a hard time in China this year. For the first time ever, it reported a decline in year-on-year revenue and lost the iPhone patent case. Beijing also imposed strict rules on online publishing and Apple’s online stores for iBooks and movies were closed in April.
China is the largest iPhone market in the world by the number of activated smartphones in China in 2015. This might change, however. Now Apple ranks fifth in China in smartphone market share, elbowed out by local vendors Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi. According to Apple’s third quarter 2016 report, China ranks third in revenue, behind the Americas and Europe.
On Thursday, the iPhone 7 was released, but there was a less buzz among Chinese netizens compared to when the iPhone 6 launched. To find out the offline reaction of Chinese consumers, we hit Sandbox, a co-working space in Shanghai, and asked Chinese people (five male, five female interviewees) if they would consider buying a new iPhone 7.
Here are their answers. Only one person out of ten people considered buying the new iPhone 7.
Qing Liu (27) Sports socks brand entrepreneur
I don’t want to buy the iPhone 7. I have an iPhone 6 and I’m happy with it. I currently have an iPhone 6 Plus and OPPO. The iPhone 6 Plus is for personal use and the OPPO phone is for work. Our company gave me the OPPO phone. The OPPO phone is slow to react when I swipe from one screen to another, but now the OPPO phone reacts smoothly as well. Before, when I clicked an app on my phone, I needed to wait five seconds to open it, but now it opens instantly.
The China market is now leaning towards domestic brands like Huawei. These days, Chinese entrepreneurs like Huawei phones more. There’s not a lot of differences between smartphone brands now. It’s almost the same. Many people now think buying a ‘Made in China’ phone is more economical.
Roy Lee (30) film website business development
I don’t want to buy an iPhone 7. I already have an iPhone 6S and I don’t want to buy the new one. I chose to buy an iPhone over a Chinese smartphone because of the iOS network – it’s linked to my Apple devices. (He is using a MacBook Air).
Weiqi Qian (61) Seawater electricity generating company CEO
I don’t want to buy an iPhone 7. Huawei’s phones are now better than [Apple’s]. Apple is now falling behind. We like Huawei. We love China-made products and Huawei is made in China.
I’m using a Lenovo phone. The government gives out a 2,900 yuan ($434 USD) monthly pension for retired people like me and I couldn’t afford a Huawei phone. That’s why I bought a Lenovo phone with 500 yuan ($75 USD). […] I don’t have money and that’s why I started a startup. I want to make my dream come true. Would you invest in my company?
Jiaojia Wei (24) App “WeChange” Product Manager
I watched the keynote of the iPhone 7 release. I saw the new iPhone 7 and it didn’t satisfy me. I use an iPhone 6. I don’t want to buy an iPhone 7. Apple dropped the headphone jack and instead added an adapter that will enable traditional headphone users to connect their existing headset to the new iPhone.
That means you can either plug in your headphone or charge your phone but you cannot do both. That means I cannot watch a movie while charging my phone. I watch movies using my phone, so it was an important part of my decision not to buy the iPhone 7. The waterproof feature is really useful though. Water can easily smear onto your phone so I think it’s a good feature.
Bowang Lee (19) University freshman, doing research
I don’t want to buy the iPhone 7. I’m using the Huawei Honor. I bought it because it’s the product of my country and in some ways it’s better than the iPhone. It’s true. The internal memory of the iPhone is only 1 GB, but Huawei’s is 4 GB. If you have more memory you can run more apps at the same time and it works more smoothly. I’d say Huawei’s quality-to-price ratio is better than the iPhone’s.
Mia Klum Liu (24) app UI designer
I’m an app UI designer and the details of a phone really matter to me. I want to buy the iPhone 7. I want to experience what it’s like. I saw the pictures of the new iPhone this morning. It didn’t reach my [expectations] of an ideal phone. There weren’t many differences or changes made to it than previous ones. Now I think Android is better than iOS. I’m okay with the iPhone [hardware] itself, but I feel like Android has gone through more improvements, and I think there was not much improvement made to iOS.
I mentioned the weak points of the iPhone, and yes, there’s a gap between the iPhone 7 and my ideal phone, but still I want to experience the new iPhone and I still like the iPhone. I have an iPhone 5. I bought it with the money I saved from when I was working at the university helping other students. So if I have a chance later, I will consider buying the iPhone 7.
Nuria Ni (26) Business group Project manager
This morning I read about iPhone 7’s release on Weibo, but I don’t want to buy the iPhone 7. I already have an iPhone 6S Plus. Chinese phones are also good, like Huawei is really good. But I’m now used to Apple’s iOS, so I won’t consider buying a Chinese phone. Apple’s system is much more convenient. I also bought a MacBook and it’s really convenient to link the two devices.
Vera Yang (22) New media operation
I don’t want to buy the iPhone 7. I’m using an iPhone 6 and I can still use it and I’m satisfied with the features. I have another phone, a Meitu phone made by Meizu. Meitu is for work and I bought it myself. When I take a selfie, I look more beautiful on pictures taken with my Meitu phone. I bought two phones because I don’t want to see my personal phone when I’ m working. The features I use in both phones are the same – WeChat, QQ – I have them all on both phones. It’s just the contact lists that are different on two phones. If my iPhone 6 is out of order, then I might consider buying a new iPhone.
Apple Lee (35, female) HR in a startup
I don’t want to buy the iPhone 7. I have never used an Apple product in my life. I’m using Xiaomi 4C, which came out last year. I would rather buy Huawei or Xiaomi than the iPhone, because if I buy an Apple product and leave it on my seat for awhile, another person will steal it.
At first, I used a Nokia phone, but it was not a smartphone. Then my friend sent me a Samsung smartphone, but the screen broke when I dropped it. Then I started to only buy Xiaomi phones. I previously used a Xiaomi 4.
Sherry Shen (23, female) Event planning
I don’t want to buy the iPhone 7. I’m using a Huawei MateS and I bought it this year in March. Huawei has a better reputation among my friends and the iPhone is too expensive. Huawei has a better quality-to-price ratio. When I used the iPhone 5, I thought it was very smooth and had many apps. Using Wi-Fi on an iPhone is not so convenient.
Image Credit: TechNode