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Online giants to lead Apple Watch sales
By Zhu Shenshen

CHINA is among the first regions where Apple Watch will go on sale next month.

China’s dot-com giants have developed Apple Watch versions of popular applications, which include social features, mobile payment and traveling, for millions of their users.

Tmall.com, a subsidiary of China e-commerce giant Alibaba, will start selling Apple Watches on April 24, the same day Apple Stores will begin shipment.


Apple will sell entry-line Watch Sport with prices starting from 2,588 yuan (US$413), Apple Watch from 4,188 yuan, and luxury-line Watch Edition from 74,800 yuan.

Consumers can start placing orders on April 10. Each line has several colors, including gold, the most favored by Chinese consumers.

Connecting wirelessly to a user’s iPhone, the smartwatch is a wrist device that can be used for messaging, calls and a variety of health apps.

WeChat, a popular Chinese messaging app, is among the built-in apps available on Apple Watch, which was launched by Apple in San Francisco on Monday. Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, and Alipay, Alibaba’s online payment system, were also added to the smartwatch.

With Apple Watch, users can check their Alipay accounts — China’s most popular mobile payment tool.

Travelers will be notified about flights and hotel information by Ctrip.com, China’s biggest online tourism service provider.

Apple expects to sell 20 million Apple Watches globally this year with China being one of the most important markets for the US tech giant, said Figo Wang, a TrendForce analyst.

Much of the attention, however, seems to be on the gold Watch Edition, which costs more than US$10,000.

An online joke doing the rounds on the social media says: “I am ready to sell my kidneys (to buy Watch Edition) but I’m not sure that will be enough.”

The Apple Watch sales in China, the biggest and rapidly growing markets both for luxury products and consumer electronics, means a lot to Apple, analysts said. The US giant has 21 Apple Stores in China and plans to have a total of 40 stores by the middle of next year.

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