iPhone 6 Plus Home landscape

Hot on the heels of reports that Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were nearing approval for sale in China, a new report yesterday asserted that the new handsets are now scheduled to hit store shelves in the 1.33 billion people market on Friday, October 10.

According to an internal memo obtained by TechWeb [Google Translate], Apple’s retail staff will receive their training material on October 7, giving them three days to familiarize themselves with talking points and features of Apple’s flagship phones.

Unlike the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c that hit China, the United States and other key markets simultaneously, this time around Apple’s delayed launch in China due to the regulatory approval process tang longer than expected.

AppleInsider says the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus should sell for ¥5,288 ($863) and ¥6,288 ($1,026), respectively. This would put the price of the 4.7-inch handset on par with the starting price as last year’s iPhone 5s.

iPhone 6 (China regulatory approval 001)

On the other hand, Bloomberg noted yesterday that Chinese regulators, such as state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, are pushing carriers to lower subsidies for new phone buyers.

Chinese regulators are apparently concerned that carriers had overspent on subsidies and advertising for devices such as the iPhone. The move is expected to result in a 94 percent increase of the price of an entry-level iPhone 5s with 16 gigabytes, using the most-expensive data plan over two years.

”Due to the changes being mandated in China, the effective hardware price for users will double,” remarked AppleInsider.

Tim Cook (iPhone 6 launch, Palo Alto Apple Store)

Previously, a customer in China paid ¥5,288 yuan ($863) for an iPhone 5s up front, with a two-year contract for the top monthly plan giving customers a monthly rebate of ¥194 ($31.66).

The subsidy covered 88 percent of the handset’s price, so the user paid ¥632 ($103.15) for the phone by the end of the contract.

The new policy would have people pay ¥4,488 ($732.50) up front for a 16GB iPhone 5s, with a monthly discount on voice service of ¥136 ($22.20).

This works out to a subsidy of ¥3,264 ($532.72) over the course of a two-year contract, so consumers end up paying ¥1,224 ($199.77) for their iPhone.

The delay in the official introduction of the new handsets in China, coupled with grey imports, have catapulted iPhone 6 prices in the local black market into the stratosphere, reaching as much as ¥11,641 ($1,900) and ¥19,912 ($3,250) for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, respectively.

These insane prices should be blamed on smugglers and the attractiveness of the new handsets, which have been in high demand since the September 19 launch.

A video below shows how local immigrants employed by the well-funded black market took over the iPhone 6 lines outside Apple’s flagship retail store in New York City, as first reported by The Washington Post.

[Tech Web]