A Chinese man makes a calls on his mobile phone. Photo: iStock
A Chinese man makes a calls on his mobile phone. Photo: iStock

To cater to the Chinese consumer market, Apple has decided to add dual-sim features to its latest iPhones. Two of the three new models – the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, but not iPhone XS – will be made available in China, Hong Kong and Macau and offer dual sim cards, a unique feature popular among mainland manufacturers.

Online critics ridiculed Apple, saying the company had copied from the copycats, adding that now Apple’s iPhone was essentially no different from the copycat models priced at roughly one-tenth of the iPhone price.

Dual Sim cards have been a popular feature in China because many users have more than one number. For example, business people who travel between Shanghai and Hong Kong often have two phones, taking advantage of the different price plans.

To please affluent Chinese consumers, Apple hopes to win more market share in China, its largest overseas market after the United States.

According to latest data by IDC, Apple was ranked No. 5 in terms of handset sales in China, behind local brands Huawei, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi.

However, when it comes to revenue, Apple topped all its rivals with an unmatched high margin.

How well the new iPhones will sell in China is anybody’s guess. Based on the initial reaction from the mainland press, expensive was the first adjective used to describe Apple’s latest offering because some of the models are close to, if not more than, 10,000 yuan (US$1,456).

To be fair, iPhones have always been expensive since their launch in 2007. But the expensive new iPhones without much marked innovation might make it tough to win a large chunk of the market.

iReserve, the usual barometer for measuring the popularity of an iPhone, opened for subscriptions last Friday and there were still models to be reserved at the time of writing.

Only the iPhone XS Max with 256GB at HK$10,799 sold out within the first hour.

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