Quick on the heels of news that the iPhone is gaining traction in China, Shanghai-based Spicy Horse gives birth to a mobile division aptly named “Spicy Pony“. Last week the Pony quietly released its first app – the unique brain trainer “DexIQ“. This week it makes official its entry into the iPhone arena with an eye towards developing entertainment, game and social apps for the Asian and Western markets.
To celebrate we’re making DexIQ FREE for a limited time (weekend of the 18th, December ’09).
Like many others, I was using an iPhone in China long before China Unicom’s official launch of the handset (October 30, ’09). Before the launch, conservative estimates put iPhone penetration in China around 1.5 million – some say as many as 3 million. But these are “gray market” phones, meaning they were sold in Hong Kong then brought into China, jail-broken and resold.
China Unicom iPhone sales hit 100,000 as of last week (December 11th, ’09). At that rate they’ll sell over 600,000 phones per year – and that’s without added momentum from price reductions, new features, killer apps, and the diminishing appeal of gray market phones. I’m going to be non-conservative here and guess that official iPhone sales will have surpassed 1 million units by this time next year. Things that will help drive iPhone sales for China Unicom:
* Young Chinese see cell phones as fashion accessories and love to update every 3 to 6 months.
* Most high-end cell phones here are the price of the iPhone (Chinese youth and professionals have been spending 300-800USD on phones for several years).
* Unicom is offering amnesty for gray market phone owners – allowing them to switch to legit accounts while gaining access to 3G.
* Better and faster network performance from anywhere will gain importance as people see their friends leveraging such access.
* Rumors abound that Unicom will unlock WiFi before long, when that happens watch out!
* More and cooler China-specific apps will drive interest in the device (as happened in the US).
For me, the biggest hurdle in switching was that I had to change my cell phone number. In China numbers are a big deal – everyone loves 8’s (very auspicious) – so phone numbers, license plate numbers and the like are chosen carefully and coveted. Fortunately, there’s little interest in 6’s, so I was able to secure a sweet ‘666’ number. Now that I’m on the new network I couldn’t be happier. It’s fast, reliable and price competitive – especially when compared to the so-so performance I was getting with my iPhone on China Mobile’s GPRS network.
For Spicy Pony, the rapidly expanding Chinese iPhone market is a phenomenal boon. Our studio and expertise are perfectly aligned to address the new Chinese and existing Western markets. It’s an exciting time to jump into the fray. We’re going to leverage our talents against development of original concepts for China and the West – and we’re cooking up a big license-based game I’m sure everyone will find quite wonderful.
Keep an eye on the Spicy Pony site for details and updates.
And remember, DexIQ is FREE for a limited time. Enjoy!