Immediately after Apple unveiled its new iPhone SE this week, Beijing resident Li Sheng went online to check out the new phone as a possible replacement for his Huawei Ascend Mate 7.
Li describes himself as frugal and practical. "I never even looked at Apple's phones — the iPhone 6 or 6s," he said. "But the moment I saw the price of the iPhone SE and the phone, I wanted to buy one."
Li is exactly the kind of consumer whom Apple hopes to attract to its new iPhone lineup.
Until now, Apple has competed in China's massive smartphone market only with its high-end iPhones. The iPhone has become a status symbol, helping to make the country a top market for the U.S. tech giant. The iPhone SE is seen as a way for the company to expand in emerging nations and to target more price-sensitive consumers. In China, the lower end of the market has been dominated by less expensive Android-based smartphones sold by South Korea's Samsung and China's Xiaomi, Huawei, and Meizu.
The smaller 4 inch iPhone SE will be available in four colors in China at a price of RMB 3,288 (US $505) for a 16GB model and RMB 4,088 ($630) for a 64GB phone. Preorders can be taken on Thursday for the release date of March 31.
Chinese social media have been abuzz with the iPhone SE. Self-proclaimed Meizu smartphone owner "Xumoubudujue" writes, "I'm going to save more money to buy this one."