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Apple not making cheaper iPhone to secure market share: Chinese media

Addressing a speculation that Apple Inc may take the cheaper route in making phones to expand its market share, head of company’s marketing division Phil Schiller disclosed to a Chinese newspaper that producing  more affordable smartphones to grab market share is not an option.

Schiller said, in an interview with the Shanghai Evening News, that while Apple only had 20 percent of the market share, it enjoyed 75 percent profit.

Paraphrasing his comment, the Shanghai Evening News cited Schiller’s note as saying that Apple is not developing a cheap version of its popular smartphones for the sake of grabbing market share.

Reuters said Apple has confirmed the interview but did not provide any further comment.

“Originally, many in the Chinese market used feature phones (regular wireless phones). But now a few companies are starting to use cheap smartphones to take the place of feature phones,” said Schiller in an interview with a Chinese newspaper.

“But this is not a direction that we want to be heading in with our products,” the Shanghai Evening News reported.

Earlier this week, an anonymous source cited by Wall Street Journal said that Apple could launch a cheaper version of iPhone within the year.  Apple’s secretive nature about its new products stirs great interests and speculation every time.

A report from a Taiwan-based journal DigiTimes jumpstarted the speculation by speculating that a cheaper iPhone is in the works and may be released late in 2013 in some markets. Other news outlets including The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg followed through the speculation, setting off a buzz among tech analysts and the press. Gene Munster, an analyst from Piper Jaffray, forecast that a more affordable iPhone could potentially reward Apple with over $6.5 billion a year.

China is currently Apple’s second biggest single market after North America and the company has been focusing on it as it tries to maintain its phenomenal growth.

The company’s CEO, Tim Cook, had already visited China twice during the last 12 months, making contact with government officials and business partners. Apple also announced last Thursday that Cook called the head of China’s biggest wireless network, China Mobile, for a long-awaited deal between the two companies.

Cook said, in an interview with the official  Xinhua News Agency, that China will someday be Apple’s single biggest mobile market.


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