A member of Chinese WP7 forums WPXAP has found a very interesting block of new product promotion on Beijing local evening paper. The advert comes from one of China’s largest electronics retail chain. By the name of Suning, the retail giant has been exposed earlier to be key partners to Nokia and Microsoft in terms of WP7 ice-breaking in the Central Kingdom. We know there are a lot of stuff to be done, like trimming off core OS components that are blocked by China (Facebook and Twitter, to name a few), and barter with government officials about the business license of the Marketplace, as well as lobbying the three carriers of China.
So far, everyone’s been talking about “H1 2012″ for the Chinese launching window of WP7. But this very advert from Suning means it might be much faster than we all thought. A snapshot of the paper is here:
In case it’s not clear enough, here’s a bigger snapshot:
The section says “6 most anticipated products in the year of the dragon (reads 2012), all open to pre-order from Suning”. And except for the usual Android gang (Moto Droid 4, China’s homebrew Xiaomi, Sony Ericsson LT 26i) are THREE WP7 superstarts, they are:
Nokia Lumia 800 (“Windows Phone, uni-body design, 3.7″ AMOLED screen.”)
Nokia Lumia 900 (“Windows Phone, 4.7″ AMOLED large screen, direct-sunlight-proofing readability”)
HTC Titan (“Windows Phone 7,5, 4.7″ super size screen, 1600mAh generous battery capacity)
If true, now Chinese (or at least us Beijingers) could pay a petty ￥100 (about 16 US$) to get our WP7 gadgets secured. And when those babies actually do ship, our ￥100 will be converted into a ￥300 reduction. Although the final price is still unclear, having ￥200 discount is pretty good anyway.
Normally no vendor would start pre-order like 6 months in advance. So we assume WP7′s formal Chinese launch will be rather soon, and chances are Lumia 800 and 900 will hit China in a nice one-two punch. So far a great number of WP7 phones have been smuggled into China and sold in black markets, and China’s superstar team of internet giants have shown very generous support to the Marketplace (a legion of popular Chinese services were already there even before the OS had any Chinese input method). We’ll see what’s to happen when the invasion begins.
Shame to admit, but despite living 5 years in Beijing, I seldom check local newspaper. So this Suning thing is a total surprise to me. I’m gonna drop by a few Suning outlets nearby and see if it’s possible to squeeze some extra juice out of their sales people. Will keep you guys updated.