Apple HomePod to Launch in China Next Year

Customers walk past an Apple logo inside of an Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York
Customers walk past an Apple logo inside of an Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York
(Photo: Reuters/LucasJackson)

Apple announced that the launch of its HomePod smart speaker in China next year. The speaker is a Siri-powered device in which the company plans to include in its expansion all over the globe. Apple's speaker expansion to the country beats Amazon.com Inc. and Google in popularity in the most populated country in the world.

A preorder of the device is not yet available but Apple announced on its website that the new product will be available in the Chinese market in 2019. The speaker can automatically adjust to the environment in which it is placed and it supports Mandarin and Cantonese along with other additional languages. Most Chinese smart speaker only uses Mandarin and most of the makers are struggling to develop speakers that support other languages.

The HomePod, just like other Apple products, will be marketed at a premium. It is projected to sell around RMB 2,799 or about $408.21. It is higher than its price of around $350 in the United States. Apple's Hong Kong website also announced that they will also release the speakers in the market. The website announced that the speakers will cost $358.

The speakers were originally marketed in the U.S., Australia, and U.K. in February 2018. It is already distributed in France, Canada, and Germany in June and Mexico and Spain this October. Apple's launch in China makes the company the first U.S. smart speaker maker to launch in the country's promising internet market.

Amazon and Google are currently not selling their smart speakers in China. Local marketers like Xiaomi Corp. and the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. are the top sellers of the device in the Chinese market at the moment.

The company's Siri voice assistant that supports Cantonese and Mandarin gives Apple an edge over its competitors. Apple is also at an advantage since it already offers integrated services in China and Hong Kong like iCloud, Maps and Apple Music.

Currently, the HomePad is far from the top sellers of Apple. If the expansion continues, it is expected to improve its sales rating. Loup Ventures projected that the company will approximately reach 20 million HomePad sales a year until 2025. The projection is far from the estimated sales of Google which are 200 million units and Amazon that is estimated to sell 138 million units on that same year. Canalys said that China's smart speaker market will rapidly grow until the second quarter of 2018.

© 2018 Business Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.