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AppAdvice International: Chinese New Year Deals, China Mobile, Japan's Lucky Bags

Happy New Year, AppAdvice International readers! To welcome in 2014 we’ll be discussing three interesting news stories which happened this past week, concerning Apple’s work overseas. Our lens is focusing on Asia: more specifically, on China’s smartphone market, and Japan’s interesting “lucky bags.”

Apple’s “Red Friday” sale

[caption id="attachment_504305" align="aligncenter" width="642"] It's Friday, Friday. [/caption]

But first: Apple announced earlier today that it’s planning a special one-day sale in celebration of the Chinese New Year (also known as the Lunar New Year) on Jan. 10, exactly three weeks before the festival on Jan. 31.

Our original article from Aldrin Calimlim explained:

Dubbed “Red Friday” for the significance of red in Chinese culture and its similarities to Black Friday in the U.S., the event brings discounts on various items on certain Apple online stores and retail shops in Asia.

During the Red Friday sale, customers in select Asian markets including China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand can avail of numerous special deals on Apple products and accessories. Some of these are also available through the official Apple Store apps for iPhone and iPad.

Though of course, it’ll be most interesting to see if the Red Friday sales parallel Apple’s Black Friday offerings in the United States. For U.S. customers, Black Friday brought Apple Store Gift Card offerings; overseas, Apple rather advertised discounts on its products. We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.

In the meantime, as my colleague Aldrin notes: Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Japan’s Lucky Bags

[caption id="attachment_504306" align="aligncenter" width="567"] Well do ya, punk? [/caption]

Apple’s annual tradition of offering Lucky Bags in Japan sees customers pick up an assortment of discounted products and iOS accessories, without actually knowing what’s inside individual bags. This year, customers in Japan got the chance of grabbing the ¥36,000 (around $345) bags on Jan. 2, and on the day we were able to find out exactly what was inside the coveted products.

Each bag contained either an 11-inch MacBook Air, an iPad Air, an iPad mini with Retina display, or an iPod nano. Along with each product were related accessories, as our original report explained:

Featured accessories included Jaybirds’ BlueBuds X ($169.99), Stem’s IZON IOS WRM-WA0–00 Remote Room Monitor ($99.95), Logitech’s Ultimate Ears Mobile Boombox ($89.99), and the Square Card Reader ($9.99, or free if you sign-up for an account).

The Incase Sports Armband Pro for the iPod nano ($29.95) and the Griffin Courier Clip for the iPod nano ($24.99) were also included in the iPod nano bags.

Of course, customers had no idea what was in the bags they were buying until the purchase was made. Which bag would you have hoped for?

China Mobile preorders

[caption id="attachment_504307" align="aligncenter" width="642"] China Mobile. [/caption]

One new report which surfaced online one week ago claims that China Mobile’s iPhone preorders aren’t as high as you’d expect. Compared against the number of preorders taken for the new handsets from China Unicom and China Telecom (which respectively amassed 120,000 and 150,000 preorders after just a few days), China Mobile’s estimated 100,000 iPhone preorders falls short - despite the carrier’s 760 million subscribers.

Our original article noted:

China Mobile has taken around 100,000 preorders for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, according to Wedge Partners’ analyst Brian Blair. This figure is indeed smaller than the initial number of preorders for the new handsets with rival carriers China Unicom and China Telecom, back in September 2013 when both first launched in the country.

However, there could be a handful of reasons for this lower-than-anticipated figure. For one, the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are several months old; for another, China Mobile isn’t offering impressive subsidies with both handsets (potentially due its exclusive 4G TD-LTE offering).

In fact, China Mobile subsidies are said to be similar to China Telecom’s, and more expensive than China Unicom’s.

The analyst Brian Blair indeed told AllThingsD:

What’s important to remember is these phones launched in September. Now here we are several months later and there’s no subsidy being offered that’s so special that the preorders are off the charts. If this had been in September when the phone launched globally, I think the numbers would be a lot higher.

Of course, preorders aside, we’ll get a far better idea of how the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are going to sell with the carrier once they actually launch with China Mobile. This is scheduled to occur on Jan. 17, and based on recent analysis as many as 38.7 million iPhone handsets could be sold by the carrier in 2014 alone.

Check back us, because we’ll be discussing this interesting situation in the coming weeks.

That’s all from this week’s edition of AppAdvice International. We’ll be back at the same time next Tuesday, so be sure to call in again.

In the meantime, see: Okidokeys Lets You Unlock The Full Potential Of Your iPhone As A Smart Key, Apple’s US Smartphone Usage Share Is Still Increasing, Report Claims, and To Infinity And Beyond: Hello Games Set To Release Joe Danger Infinity On Jan. 9.