Apple introduces payment plans in a bid to secure the Chinese market

Apple has unveiled a new payment plan scheme for consumers in China, in a bid to gain greater traction in the world’s largest smartphone market.

According to CNet, the payment plan will be available for consumers who order Apple products online through the Apple Store for purchases between $US48 and $US4,822.

The payment plan will be offered through China Merchants Bank in terms of 12, 18 or 24 months, and will include fees of between 0% and 8.5% depending on the plan.

The news emerged a little over a week after Apple chief executive Tim Cook held high level talks with government officials in Beijing, as well as further negotiations with China Mobile.

The Chinese market is increasingly important for Apple, with the country overtaking the US as the world’s largest smartphone market as of May last year.

The country’s largest carrier, China Mobile, has an estimated 700 million mobile phone subscribers – a subscriber base roughly twice the population of the US.

While the iPhone is available in China through China Mobile’s competitors, including China Unicom and China Telecom, negotiations with China Mobile have stalled for years over the topic of revenue-sharing between the two companies.

As SmartCompany reported in November, analysts estimate that Apple has fallen out of the top five smartphone vendors in China, holding just 8% of the market. A second survey showed that Android smartphones have claimed around 90% of the smartphone market in China.

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