No crowds as Apple’s iPhone 11 hits stores in China

Apple has been losing ground to competitors with cheaper and feature-packed handsets in recent years. (Reuters)
Updated 20 September 2019

No crowds as Apple’s iPhone 11 hits stores in China

  • The sales performance of the US tech giant’s latest line-up is being closely watched in the world’s largest smartphone market
  • Apple has been losing ground to competitors with cheaper and feature-packed handsets in recent years

BEIJING/SHANGHAI: Apple’s latest iPhone 11 range hit stores in China on Friday, with short queues of die-hard fans contrasting with the hundreds who camped out ahead of some previous launches.
The sales performance of the US tech giant’s latest line-up is being closely watched in the world’s largest smartphone market, where Apple has been losing ground to competitors with cheaper and feature-packed handsets in recent years.
The queues at the Shanghai and Beijing stores, which combined added up to few dozen customers, were in sharp contrast to previous years, when hundreds used to wait for hours outside Apple’s shops to be the first to grab its latest offerings.
But much of the fanfare in China has moved online where the pre-sales for iPhone 11, priced between $699 and $1,099, started last week.
Analysts said they had gotten off to a better start than the last cycle a year ago. Chinese e-commerce site JD.com said day one pre-sales for the iPhone 11 series were up 480 percent versus comparable sales for the iPhone XR last year.
Among customers that took to a store in Beijing on Friday to make a purchase in person was a programmer who only gave his surname as Liu, who said he had a model from every Apple series since the 3G range.
He said he was particularly attracted to the more expensive iPhone 11 Pro, which has three cameras on the back. “When it comes to taking photos, it’s better for night shots and the image is clearer,” he told Reuters.
Other customers, however, said that they were concerned that the range was not enabled for fifth-generation networks, putting them behind 5G models already released by China’s Huawei Technologies and smaller rival Vivo, and expressed hopes that Apple could make it happen for its next line-up.
“I think by the end of next year, especially in big cities like Beijing, 5G will be commonplace,” said civil servant Liu Liu. “If they don’t research this then they’ll lag way behind.”
The in-store launch of the iPhone 11 in China came a day after Chinese smartphone maker Huawei unveiled new smartphones which it said were more compact, with more sensitive cameras and wraparound screens more vivid than those of the latest iPhone, though it played down concerns about the lack of access to Google’s popular apps.
Huawei has experienced a surge in support from Chinese consumers after the brand was caught up in a trade war between the United States and China, which has in turn eaten into Apple’s market share in the country.


Malta seizes $1 bn in fake Libyan money ‘printed by Russian firm’

Updated 1 min 35 sec ago

Malta seizes $1 bn in fake Libyan money ‘printed by Russian firm’

  • ‘This incident once again highlights the need for Russia to cease its destabilizing actions in Libya’

VALLETTA: Maltese authorities have seized counterfeit Libyan money worth $1.1 billion that was printed by a Russian firm and worsen the north African country’s economic problems, the US State Department said.

There was no official statement on Saturday from Valletta although Malta Today newspaper had published a report about $1.1 billion in counterfeit money seized in Malta on its Facebook site that was no longer available.

“The US commends the Government of the Republic of Malta’s announcement May 26 of its seizure of $1.1 billion of counterfeit Libyan currency printed by Joint Stock Company Goznak — a Russian state-owned company — and ordered by an illegitimate parallel entity,” the State Department said.

“The central bank of Libya headquartered in Tripoli is Libya’s only legitimate central bank,” the US diplomatic arm said in a statement.

“The influx of counterfeit, Russian-printed Libyan currency in recent years has exacerbated Libya’s economic challenges,” it added.

Washington vowed to continue working with the UN and international partners “to deter illicit activities that undermine Libya’s sovereignty and stability,” it added.

Such actions “are inconsistent with internationally recognized sanctions regimes,” the statement said. “This incident once again highlights the need for Russia to cease its malign and destabilizing actions in Libya.”

UN experts issued a report last December to the UN Security Council saying Goznak JSC had delivered between 2016 and 2018 to the parallel central bank in the east of the country the equivalent of some $7.11 billion in Libyan money.

Since Moamer Kadhafi’s regime fell in 2011, Libya has been plunged into chaos.

Two authorities dispute power in Libya: The Government of National Accord of Fayez Al-Sarraj, which is recognised by the UN and based in Tripoli; and a parallel government in the east headed by Khalifa Haftar.

The US military has also said that Russia recently sent warplanes to Libya to support mercenaries on the ground fighting beside Haftar’s forces.