When the WiFi version of the iPad mini launched in October in the United States, pre-orders for the diminutive tablets sold out within days. It’s still difficult to walk into an Apple Store and purchase one of the popular 16GB minis.
Apple is experiencing the same high demand for its WiFi + Cellular iPad minis, which do not ship for a week from the Apple’s U.S. Online Store. In China, where the iPad mini WiFi + Cellular launched today, the wait is even longer, with a minimum of a two week wait for all iPad mini models.
After the iPad mini went on sale in China this morning, the Chinese Online Apple Store listed 2-week shipping times for both the WiFi versions of the iPad mini and the WiFi + Cellular versions. Though the WiFi + Cellular model has just launched in China, the WiFi versions began shipping on December 7, meaning demand both in China and across the world continues to be strong for the iPad mini. The initial minis that launched in China sold out quickly.
Demand for Apple products will likely increase in China in the coming months, thanks to a new payment plan that was introduced this week. Customers in China are now able to purchase Apple products priced from $48 to $4,800 using credit, paying with installments over 1, 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 payments. Apple’s 1, 3, 6, and 12 month payment plans garner no interest, making expensive Apple devices more affordable for urban workers.
Apple CEO Tim Cook toured China last week, and in an interview with Chinese reporters, he predicted that China has the potential to become Apple’s largest market. Apple, he says, is working on shortening approval times to get Apple products in Chinese Apple stores more quickly.
Cook has also said that Apple is working on expanding in the country. There are eight Apple Stores in four mainland cities right now, a number that will grow to 25 over the course of 2013.
There have been several reports lately that have suggested demand for the iPhone is flagging, leading to a stock drop earlier this week, but Apple’s new payment plan system and its push into China may compensate for any waning sales in other countries.
[via The Next Web]