Compared with last year's iPhone 11, the starting price of iPhone 12 is US$100 higher, while a "Mini" version with a 5.4-inch screen were sold cheaper at US$699. Courtesy Apple.

To iPhone or not to iPhone.

That is the question for China’s consumers, as Apple launched its newest model on Wednesday.

Apple’s iPhone 12 launch led to a feverish debate on social media among Chinese consumers, with some applauding the brand for trying to catch-up with the 5G race, and others complaining about the high price tag, including the fact that the adapter and headphone are sold separately, CGTN.com reported.

Not to be outdone, iPhone’s main rival Huawei, whose sales keeps surging this year, announced that its Mate 40 model will be released next week.

Netizens commented on WeChat that rolling out of the higher-end 5G devices rescued the 44-year-old company from being left behind in technological innovation, CGTN.com reported.

Apple fans were disappointed last autumn when the company released only 4G iPhones. Chinese smartphone makers, however, have released more than 100 models of 5G handsets since mid-2019.

The tag “iPhone12” topped the trending topic chart on China’s Twitter-like Weibo after the product launch, while remaining hot throughout the day attracting more than 7 billion views and 2 million discussions by the afternoon, CGTN.com reported.

Compared with last year’s iPhone 11, the starting price of iPhone 12 is US$100 higher, while a “Mini” version with a 5.4-inch screen were sold cheaper at US$699.

Apple said that in order to be more environmentally friendly, all its iPhone 12 series will be put in lighter boxes without charging adapters or headphones. Some netizens mocked it as “ordering takeaway without boxes or tissue.”

When Chinese business magazine caijing.com.cn opened a poll asking if consumers would buy the new iPhone, among its 36,000 participants, a staggering 20,000 voted no by Wednesday afternoon, while close to 10,000 voted yes, they would, CGTN.com reported.

Many Weibo users said that they would make up their mind until the unveiling of Huawei’s latest top model Mate 40.

Huawei sold 56 million smartphones in the second quarter this year, taking up 20% of the world’s market, for the first time beating previous leader Samsung, which took a share of 19.5% in the second quarter, according to the International Data Corporation, CGTN.com reported. Apple took a 13.5% share.

What also caught attention of Chinese netizens is Apple’s confirmation that China’s BeiDou satellite positioning system is now also accessible to iPhone 12 models, the topic alone gained close to 70 million views on Weibo.

According to data from research company Canalys, by the second quarter of 2020, Apple’s unit shipments in China increased by 35% year-on-year, that’s before the 5G offering.

“It is expected that by 2021, nearly 60 percent of 5G smartphone shipments in China will be cheaper than $400, while 5G penetration in China will reach 83 percent in the next 12 months,” commented Canalys Analyst Jin Shengtao.