Wedge Partners offers cautious China Mobile iPhone estimates

|By:, SA News Editor

After tracking sales at Chinese e-commerce sites and regional Apple (AAPL) distributors, as well as talking with Chinese contacts, Wedge Partners' Jun Zhang believes China Mobile took ~100K iPhone 5S pre-registrations over the first two days of availability, and that China Mobile pre-registrations from "open channels" such as e-commerce sites and Apple's stores totaled ~150K.

Those figures compare with 270K initial 5S pre-registrations by China Unicom and Telecom in September, and 400K-500K Unicom/Telecom pre-registrations via "open channels."

Taking into account China Mobile-related activity, along with its impact on other channels, Zhang estimates total Chinese iPhone sales are now on a 2.7M-2.8M/month run rate, and will be on a 2.8M-2.9M/month run rate in Q1. That's in-line with a prior forecast for 34M-35M 2014 Chinese iPhone sales, up just slightly from 2013's 33M.

By contrast, some peers have estimated China Mobile will single-handedly produce an extra 20M+ iPhone sales in 2014. It's worth noting Wedge has been conservative with its iPhone forecasts for some time.