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Apple takes high road in China smartphone standoff with Xiaomi

苹果加快在华开店应对小米挑战.jpg

Apple is steering clear of Chinese rival Xiaomi Inc’s low-price online strategy, ramping up store openings in China to harness its premium edge and fend off the fast-growing No.3 globalsmartphone maker.

依靠低价在线销售战略而迅速崛起的小米公司,已跻身为全球第三大智能手机制造商。苹果公司决定避其锋芒,将重点转向在中国开设线下实体店,以充分利用其在高端手机领域的优势。

The U.S. firm’s quarterly results smashed Wall Street expectations with record iPhone sales in the holiday season and a 70% rise in China, powering the company to the largest profit in corporate history.

这家美国公司刚刚发布的财季业绩,超出了华尔街的预测。iPhone在美国假日季的销量再创新高,在中国的销量更是飙涨了70%,这使得苹果在该季度的盈利达到史上之最。

Its result in China, as well as other emerging markets such as Brazil, marks a riposte to critics who questioned the firm’s strategy a year ago not to launch a cheaper phone to lure cost-conscious buyers from Xiaomi and Samsung.

一年前,批评者质疑苹果公司为何不推出更廉价的手机,以吸引注重价格的小米和三星用户。借助在中国和巴西等新兴市场的出色表现,苹果有力地回击了这些质疑。

“In the long run Xiaomi is more of a threat to Apple than say Samsung,” said Ben Thompson, analyst at Stratechery.com. “But the way Apple fights that is to further differentiate, not by trying to compete on Xiaomi’s turf, which is low cost.”

自媒体网站Stratechery.com的分析师本•汤普森表示:“长期来看,小米对苹果的威胁比三星等公司更大。但苹果的竞争策略是进一步与小米区分开来,而不是试图在小米主打的低价市场与其直接竞争。”

Instead, Apple plans to roll out around 20 new China stores by 2016, likely located in glitzy locations and rubbing shoulders with outlets for luxury brands such as Chanel and Hermes.

相反,苹果计划在2016年之前,在中国新增大约20家零售店。这些店面可能会设在繁华地段,与香奈儿和爱马仕等奢侈品牌毗邻而居。

For Apple, brick-and-mortar stores help it maintain a premium image, from the product to in-store service and even packaging, allowing the firm to charge far higher prices than rivals – vital to its enviable profit margins.

对苹果而言,实体店能帮助公司维护从产品到店内服务,甚至到包装的高档形象,从而可以定出比竞争对手高得多的价格——这对苹果获得令人艳羡的利润空间至关重要。

“If you could only get an Apple product online, then there wouldn’t be the same user experience and so people might not be so willing to buy. After all, it’s an expensive product,” said Shi Xinchao, 24, a civil servant in Jiangsu province.

24岁的史新超是江苏省的一名公务员,他表示:“如果苹果产品只能网购,用户体验就不会像现在这样,人们可能就不那么愿意买了。毕竟,这款产品太贵了。”

Apple’s quarterly leap may be hard to replicate, with the launch of large-screen iPhones and a tie-up with telecoms operator China Mobile in late 2013 lifting last year’s numbers.

苹果这次季度业绩的飞越,恐怕难以复制——他们推出了大屏iPhone,还在2013年底与电信运营商中国移动合作,才获得了去年的硕果。

“People had been waiting for large-screen iPhones for a long time. The demand had piled up and Apple hadn’t been able to meet it,” said Nicole Peng, research director for Canalys in China.

调研公司Canalys中国区研究总监尼科尔•彭表示:“人们翘首以盼大屏iPhone已经很长时间了。苹果之前一直未能满足这种不断累积的需求。”

Canalys data showed Apple outsold all other smartphone makers in China by units shipped in October-December 2014, making it the country’s top seller for the first time.

Canalys的数据显示,2014年10月至12月,苹果在中国的出货量超过了其他所有智能手机厂商,首次成为中国销量最高的手机品牌。

However, some were already asking what Apple’s next driver of growth in China would be and how the firm would fend off Xiaomi’s longer-term challenge.

然而,一些观察家已经开始询问,苹果在中国迅速发展的下一个驱动力是什么?它又将如何应对来自小米的长期挑战?

Xiaomi unveiled the Mi Note earlier this month, its challenger to Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. At 2299 yuan ($371) for a model with 16 gigabytes of memory, the Mi Note costs almost two-thirds less than its Apple rival.

本月早些时候,小米推出Mi Note,以挑战iPhone 6 Plus的市场地位。这款手机的16G版本仅售2299元,几乎是后者的三分之一。

The Chinese firm, which sold its first phone just over three years ago, has also been moving into other personal and home devices that would be compatible with Xiaomi phones, helping it retain users.

这家中国公司从三年前才开始卖手机,而且也开始涉足其他个人和家居设备,这些设备将与小米手机兼容,这有助于它从而留住用户。

“This could lock in Xiaomi’s younger generation, low-income users from migrating to other brands like Apple,” said Gartner analyst C.K. Lu.

高德纳研究公司分析师C. K. 卢表示:“这种策略可以帮助小米锁定其用户群体,避免他们改用苹果等其他品牌,小米用户大多是收入相对较低的年轻人。”

“The large screen has given Apple a big core, but what’s after the large screen? That’s what we need to address.”

“大屏幕给苹果带来核心竞争力,但大屏幕之后是什么?这正是我们需要解决的问题。”

2016-06-24

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