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Why iPhones are no longer cool in China

Chinese walk in front of an iPhone poster at a phone shop in Beijing Saturday, April 7, 2012.

Chinese walk in front of an iPhone poster at a phone shop in Beijing Saturday, April 7, 2012. // Vincent Thian/AP

After a long delay, China finally approved the domestic launch of the iPhone 5. Apple shareholders would expect this to be a major event, but signs are it won’t be.

According to technology research house Gartner, Apple’s share of the mainland Chinese smartphone market slumped to below 7% in the third quarter of this year. That was a big drop, down from 12% in the second quarter.

Things used to be so different. Less than two years ago, wealthy Chinese consumers loved Apple. But they are a fickle bunch, always looking for the latest cool brand to add to their collection. That used to be the sweet spot the iPhone inhabited. Now, Samsung sits there. And at the lower end, consumers are too price conscious for iPhones.

Read more at Quartz.

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