A January 16, 2009 report on Intefax suggested that China Unicom and Apple are in negotiations to launch the iPhone Nano in China. See > HERE. A key point in this report was China Unicom’s insistence that Apple eliminate a number of Apple’s pre-installed iPhone applications (e.g. YouTube) in favor of indigenous “Chinese developed” alternatives (e.g. Tencent’s QQ for SMS and Youku for user created video). More on Youku possibly coming to iPhone > HERE
Here (below) is iPhonAsia’s response to questions raised on an AAPL message board:
1) Are there different versions of Apple’s App Store for each country?
2) Will Apple kill Wifi and pre-installed iPhone apps per China Unicom’s demand?
There are indeed different App Stores for each country (see image below).
I don’t think that Apple iPhone’s pre-loaded apps or WiFi would be a deal killer for iPhone in China. Apple already disabled WiFi for iPhone in Egypt per national mandate. If we’ll do it for Egypt, we’ll do it for China. I think the Nano iPhone (if it exists) could have been specially built for an “official” China launch and it may come pre-loaded with Apps that China carriers are looking for (e.g. Tencent’s QQ for SMS and Youku for user created videos). I would also not rule out that Apple has already come to terms on iPhone deals with China’s two largest wireless carriers – China Mobile (400+ million users) and China Unicom/Netcom (150+ million users).
A key question is whether the Apple App Store will be allowed on an “official” iPhone in China. China Mobile has publicly stated their admiration of Apple’s App Store and suggested that they have plans to build their own version of the App Store. It’s my guess that China’s MIIT will also support China Unicom should they elect build their own App Store.
To find different countries version of the Apple App Store launch iTunes then go to the bottom of the page and reset to your country of choice … then launch the App Store.
I posted the images below on iPhonAsia showing the most popular paid apps in the USA vs Hong Kong. The citizens of Hong Kong like Monopoly and USA customers like iShoot. Interesting no?
Top paid apps in the USA vs Hong Kong