Have you pre-ordered your favorite member of Apple’s new ultra-high-end iPhone 15 family yet? Let’s hope so, because otherwise you might find it awfully difficult to actually get your hands on one of the best phones money can buy in 2023… by the end of 2023.
Okay, maybe shipping times are not that bad at the moment, but if you keep postponing your iPhone 15 Pro Max order, rampant global demand could definitely force the Cupertino-based tech giant to push deliveries well into the holiday season and possibly beyond.
That’s not a US-only “issue”, mind you, with early iPhone 15 series sales expected to break all records in a number of other markets as well, including China. We probably don’t need to tell you why that’s a crucial region for any major handset vendor nowadays, and despite local security concerns (legitimate or not), Apple impressively continues to make headway around those parts.
Millions upon millions of pre-orders:
While it’s clearly too soon to make any solid mid-to-long-term sales predictions for the iPhone 15 lineup on either a regional or global scale, the sky is very obviously the limit to Apple’s Chinese ambitions right now.
That’s because local media reports claim that over 3 million iPhone 15-series units were pre-ordered as of Monday… on JD.com alone, which is evidently an incredible achievement that’s likely to be taken to new heights by Friday, September 22, when Apple’s upgraded mobile powerhouses will hit physical stores and start shipping to early adopters.
As you can imagine, that’s far from the only platform where the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, and 15 Pro Max went up for pre-order in China last Friday, September 15, and the highly anticipated devices were reportedly met with similar enthusiasm everywhere else too.
Apple’s official Chinese e-store, for instance, crashed within just a few minutes of the aforementioned pre-order start, while Tmall cleaned up its first batch of units in a matter of seconds. Subsequent waves of pre-orders on the same website also sold out in under half an hour, with Meituan releasing a different number to highlight the amazing consumer interest around the latest and greatest iPhones.
Specifically, the food delivery (?!) giant says it was able to sell roughly 200 million yuan worth of iPhone 15 units in 30 minutes during its own limited pre-order session on September 15. That equates to more than $27 million, which is… a lot of phones for just one third-party retailer, making us wonder how many more pre-orders Apple itself managed to secure in the region. And how many more will come in the following days and weeks.
So can Apple rule China?
Most definitely, at least in the short term. After all, Apple was the country’s number one smartphone vendor in Q4 2022 as well despite seeing its shipment figures fall from the same period of 2021. The company also managed to retain its dominant position at the beginning of 2023, slipping however to second place by the end of Q2.
Of course, the year’s third calendar quarter is not over yet, which means that there’s a chance for the iPhone 15 series to propel Apple to first place in the Chinese smartphone sales chart as early as this July – September 2023 timeframe.
Now that would be a remarkable achievement given that Vivo, Oppo, and Honor all managed to eclipse Apple in Q3 2022 shipments on the heels of lackluster initial demand for the iPhone 14 roster, but it’s probably best not to get ahead of ourselves here. Especially not with Huawei back in the spotlight thanks to a premium Mate 60 family that was welcomed to the market with similar excitement as the iPhone 15 series just a few weeks ago.
Like in the US (and presumably other countries as well), Apple can be particularly delighted by the Chinese reception of the state-of-the-art iPhone 15 Pro Max, which undoubtedly generates the highest profit margins of the family. But that model might also be the trickiest to manufacture among the four new handsets, and Cupertino will need to find a way to accelerate its production if it wants to rule China and the mobile industry in its entirety for as long as possible.