Apple has confirmed that HomePod, its Siri-enabled wireless speaker, will be available for sale in China and Hong Kong on January 18th.
The company Cupertino announced in December that HomePod should be brought to China in 2019 to list the HomePod on its local website. However, today's news comes shortly after Apple shrank its first-quarter outlook, resulting in a lower-than-expected number of iPhone upgrades in China.
That Apple is finally bringing HomePod to China is remarkable, as it is the first of the major US states smart-speaker technology companies, including Google and Amazon, are bringing such a device to market.
It should be noted that HomePod was unofficially available from third-party suppliers in China and Hong Kong, but was not available in local languages. Siri has been supporting Mandarin and Cantonese for some time, and HomePod received support for these languages outside of China late last year, which means that Apple probably always had a lead over its rivals when it came to a Chinese start. From this Friday, HomePod will be available in ten markets, including the US, UK, Spain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, and Mexico.
Growth in China
As we wrote recently, Apple's problems in China may have been due to Trump's trade war and fewer iPhone upgrades, but the company's efforts in China have been increasingly thwarted growing competition in the smartphone sector from local players, including Huawei and Xiaomi. According to Counterpoint Research, Apple is only the fifth largest smartphone seller in China and claims a market share of 9 percent.
The Chinese market for smart speakers is now the second largest market after the US. However, Apple faces a tough fight Although Amazon and Google have not yet introduced their respective devices in China. In fact, Alibaba sells KI-infected smart speakers, as does Xiaomi, which makes millions of active users between them. These two companies are among the top five smart speaker companies in the world after Google and Amazon.
Likewise, the Chinese tech-titan Baidu has a number of smart speakers, and in the third quarter of 2018, the company reached the top five next to Alibaba and Xiaomi. Baidu's DuerOS AI Assistant is already installed on at least 150 million devices, including everything from speakers to set-top boxes.
Apple's HomePod will cost ¥ 2,799 ($ 414) / $ 2,799 ($ 357) when it starts week – significantly more expensive than the incumbents. For example, Alibaba's Tmall Genie costs about $ 73 while Xiaomi sells one for less than $ 50.
Of course, the price is not the only factor. Apple's quality may turn out to be true or otherwise, while existing iPhone and Mac users tend to stay in the Apple ecosystem.