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曾经的身份象征,苹果iPhone在中国渐渐失宠

更新时间:2016-4-29 10:09:58 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Apple iPhone, Once a Status Symbol in China, Loses Its Luster
曾经的身份象征,苹果iPhone在中国渐渐失宠

HONG KONG — Since 2010, Yu Kai has followed the ritual every year: When a new Apple iPhone comes out, he gets rid of his old one and heads to a store in Beijing to buy the latest model.

香港——自2010年起,于凯每年必做的一件事情是:在苹果(Apple)推出新款iPhone手机的时候处理掉手上的旧款,前往北京的一家零售店购买新款。

This year, however, he held back.

不过,于凯今年有些犹豫不决。

Instead of buying the iPhone 6s, he has been waiting to see what the next iPhone looks like, and he said he might even switch to a model by a different maker.

他没有买iPhone 6s,而是等着看下一款iPhone会是什么样子。他说自己甚至可能转而购买另一家生产商的某个机型。

In China, where Apple has been a signifier of wealth and fashion, and where many Chinese update their smartphones each year, Mr. Yu is not an outlier.

在中国,苹果一度是财富和时尚的象征,许多中国人每年都要换新款智能手机,于凯并非孤例。

Apple’s second-quarter earnings report on Tuesday showed how hard it can be to keep the attention of China’s fickle and increasingly hard-to-impress consumers. Timothy D. Cook, the company’s chief executive, said in an earnings call that sales in mainland China had fallen 11 percent compared with the same period a year earlier.

苹果周二发布的第二季度财报表明,面对心思多变、越来越难以被打动的中国消费者,要赢得他们的青睐是何等困难。苹果首席执行官蒂莫西·D·库克(Timothy D. Cook)在财报电话会议中表示,该公司在中国大陆的销售额同比下降11%。

Mr. Cook noted that sales had dropped from a high level: In the first quarter of 2015, sales were 80 percent higher than in the same period in 2014. But the decline announced on Tuesday is a setback for one of the most beloved brands in China.

库克指出,苹果的销售额是从高位下滑的:2015年第一财季,其销售额同比上升80%。但对在中国位居最受欢迎品牌之列的苹果而言,周二曝出的业绩下滑仍然是一种挫折。

China’s young, middle-class consumers are increasingly willing, analysts say, to try phones from the many competitors — including Huawei, Meizu and Xiaomi — that seek to compete with Apple on technical specifications and aesthetics but that offer their models at a few hundred dollars cheaper.

分析人士称,中国年轻的中产阶层消费者越来越愿意尝试华为、魅族、小米等苹果的诸多竞争对手生产的手机。这些对手试图在产品的技术指标和外观方面与苹果一较高下,但他们推出的机型比苹果手机便宜数百美元。

Many customers like Mr. Yu, who is 29 and self-employed, consider the phone they use part of their personal identity, leading them to look at a broad range of available models. That being the case, Apple will have to fight to maintain its dominance of the high end of the market.

包括29岁的个体经营者于凯在内,很多消费者都把他们使用的手机视为个人身份的构成要素,这就使他们会去考虑市面上的一大堆机型。鉴于此,苹果将不得不奋力拼搏,以保持自己在高端市场的主导地位。

In the past four years, with strong demand in China for its products, Apple increased the number of retail stores in the country to 35 from just a handful, and Mr. Cook said on Tuesday that there would be 40 by the end of June. The company has also been able to tap into the enormous customer base of China’s largest wireless carrier, China Mobile, after years of talks resulted in an agreement in 2013 that brought the iPhone to the carrier. The deal contributed to Chinese consumers spending $59 billion on Apple products in the latest fiscal year.

过去四年间,由于中国消费者对苹果产品有着强劲的需求,苹果在中国开设的零售店已经从屈指可数的几个增加到了35个。库克说到今年6月会增加到40个。此外,自从经过多年谈判,中国移动终于在2013年与苹果签订引入iPhone的协议以后,苹果得以开拓这家中国最大无线运营商的庞大客户群。上一财年中国消费者花了590亿美元购买苹果产品,其中就有这项协议的功劳。

But one challenge for Apple’s sales this year is that its most recent models do not represent a big leap from the previous generation.

但今年苹果在销售方面面临着一个挑战:它最新推出的机型与上一款相比并没有特别大的进步。

“Everyone bought a 6 series,” Steven C. Pelayo, a technology analyst at HSBC in Hong Kong, said by email, referring to models introduced in late 2014. They “were less inclined to upgrade to a 6s, which only had very minor changes,” he added.

汇丰银行(HSBC)驻香港科技行业分析师史蒂芬·C·佩拉(Steven C. Pelayo)在邮件中说,“人人都买了一部6系列。”他指的是苹果在2014年末推出的机型。但他们“后来不太愿意升级到6s,因为后者只有很小的改变,”他补充道。

Qu Dewei, who has been selling smartphones for four years in a technology mall in eastern Beijing, said it had been tough to sell iPhones since September, when the iPhone 6s came out.

已经在北京东边的一家科技城卖了四年智能手机的屈德伟说,自从去年9月iPhone 6s上市以来,iPhone变得很不好卖。

“It’s been bad since then, it’s been really bad,” Mr. Qu said as he leaned on the counter at his stall. On Wednesday afternoon, the mall where he works was largely empty.

“从那时开始销路变得很差,真的很差,”屈德伟靠在自家摊位的柜台边说道。周三下午,他所在的那家科技城里基本没什么人。

“None of the brands do really great,” he said. “But while I might sell one or two Huawei phones in 10 days, I may not even sell one iPhone 6s.”

“没有哪个牌子卖得特别好,”他说。“但10天里我或许可以卖掉一两部华为,却可能连一部iPhone 6s都卖不掉。”

For years, smugglers have done a brisk business taking iPhones to mainland China from Hong Kong, where they cost less. But even the illegal sellers are feeling the pressure. In interviews, four smugglers who did well a year ago said they had now quit the trade.

多年来,走私者一直在从事一个颇具风险的营生:以较为低廉的价格在香港购入iPhones,销往中国内地。但就连这些非法卖家都感受到了压力。四名走私者接受采访时说,他们已经不做这种买卖了。就在一年前,他们的生意还很红火。

The iPhone’s weaker sales also reflect the broader slowdown in growth in China’s enormous smartphone market. Jason Low, an analyst in Shanghai with the research group Canalys, said he expected the Chinese smartphone market to grow only 4.7 percent in 2016. As recently as 2013, it was growing 50 percent annually.

IPhone销售疲软也反映了中国巨大的智能手机市场增长放缓这一大趋势。市场调研机构易观国际(Canalys)驻上海分析师杰森·洛(Jason Low)说,他预计2016年中国智能手机市场仅会增长4.7%。而在不久前的2013年,该市场一年的增长率是50%。

“If you look at the entire market, Apple cannot fight off so many competitors, like Samsung and local brands like Huawei and Oppo,” he said. “They’re all trying to raise the average selling price, and that will bleed into Apple’s sales flow.”

“如果审视整个市场,你会发现苹果无法击败那么多竞争者,比如三星(Samsung),再比如华为、Oppo等本地品牌,”他说。“他们全都试图提高平均售价,这会对苹果的销售流量造成潜移默化的影响。

Despite the pressure, Mr. Cook said in the earnings call on Tuesday that Apple was “optimistic” about China, even if it was losing ground. There is even a precedent for an Apple recovery: In 2012 and 2013, the company’s sales growth in China slowed as competitors like Samsung offered phones with larger screens, which are very popular in China. When Apple finally released a phone with a similar screen size in 2014, its market share roared back.

尽管压力重重,库克在周二的财报电话会议中还是表示,苹果依然对中国市场持“乐观”态度,哪怕正在被对手赶上。苹果重振声威甚至是有先例的:2012至2013年间,当三星等竞争对手推出广受中国消费者欢迎的大屏手机时,苹果在中国的销售额增长有所放缓。后来它在2014年推出了屏幕同样很大的机型,市场份额遂大幅回升。

In many ways, the company is in a similar position today. Samsung’s Edge phones stand out with screens that have rounded edges on one side, and many in China say the camera on Huawei’s flagship model is better than Apple’s camera. That puts more pressure on Apple to pack new features into the next iPhone, which is expected to come out this autumn.

在很多方面,该公司的处境与那时十分相似。三星的Edge手机凭借一侧弯曲的屏幕脱颖而出,华为旗舰机型搭载的相机据很多人说比苹果的更好一些。这让苹果面临着更大的压力:它必须为预计将在今秋上市的下一款iPhone加入新的特性。

For Mo Chen, a 26-year-old public relations professional who owns an iPhone 5, the next Apple smartphone will have to do much more than her current model for her to be tempted.

26岁的职业公关人士莫沉用的是一部iPhone 5,对她而言,下一款苹果智能手机必须比她手上的这部出色得多,她才会动心。

She was blunt in her criticism: “The iPhone 6 and 6s are really ugly.”

她直言不讳地批评道:“iPhone 6和6s真丑。”

Many of Ms. Mo’s co-workers and former classmates use Android phones, she said, and she is considering switching to a device by the South Korean company or to a Chinese phone made by ZTE or One Plus.

莫沉说,她的同事还有以前的同学中,很多人用的都是安卓(Android)手机,她本人正考虑换一部韩国产的手机,也没准是国产手机中兴或一加。

“I like Apple a lot,” she said. “I use an Apple computer. But in recent years, especially after I tried my friends’ Android phones, I realized that the brand has lost a bit of its charm.”

“我很喜欢苹果,”她说。“我用的是苹果电脑。但近几年,尤其是试用了朋友的安卓手机之后,我感觉这个牌子的吸引力有点儿下降了。”

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