Analysts have pointed out for a while that Apple isn't making the most of its potential in the Asian smartphone market, leaving more than two thirds untapped by some estimates.
In a recent note to investors, investment bank Morgan Stanley said Apple is missing its biggest global opportunity to increase sales and suggested the solution would be to expand its number of Asian carriers. With only 22% of the carriers offering iPhones to their subscribers, Apple still has a long way to go to conquer the Asian market.
As Katy Huberty observes, carrier support has helped the iPhone successfully expand in other markets. Since AT&T included the first iPhone in its offering to subscribers in 2007, the number of carriers that have adopted the iPhone has reached 230 in 105 countries, and consequently sales have grown from 270,000 units in its first year to over 20 million units per quarter in 2011.
Figures show that smartphone penetration is especially high with consumers aged between 25 and 34 years old, and Asia has no less than 655 million people falling into this demographic group. However, with 78% of carriers in the region not able to offer the iPhone to their subscribers (compared with just 36% in western Europe), Apple should act soon to take advantage of its overwhelming popularity.
Talks with the world's largest carrier China Mobile, have been going on for months, but as yet nothing has transpired.