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Apple Vision Pro Debuts in China, Japan, and Singapore This Month.

ByYasmeeta Oon

Jun 12, 2024

Apple Vision Pro Debuts in China, Japan, and Singapore This Month.

Apple announced on Tuesday a major expansion of its high-end virtual reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, marking the gadget’s debut in several key Asian markets. Scheduled to launch on June 28 in China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, this move comes after the product’s initial introduction in the United States four months earlier.

The Vision Pro, which first became available in the U.S. at a starting price of $3,499, will carry a heftier price tag in China—its most critical market outside the U.S.—with a base cost of 29,999 yuan (approximately $4,190). Pre-orders for the headset will begin this Friday, signaling Apple’s aggressive strategy to capture significant market share in these new regions.

One of the key challenges Apple faces with its launch in China is the stringent regulatory environment, particularly concerning content. Popular apps in the U.S. such as Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video are not available in China. To address this, Apple has collaborated with local developers and internet giants to introduce a suite of new apps and games specifically tailored for the Vision Pro. Notable partnerships include:

  • Tencent: The Chinese tech behemoth will offer its popular streaming service, Tencent Video.
  • ByteDance: Known globally for its social media platform TikTok, ByteDance will launch a VR version of Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese counterpart.

These collaborations are part of Apple’s broader strategy to integrate locally relevant content that complies with Chinese regulations while still appealing to the tech-savvy consumer base.

The entry into Asian markets places Apple directly in competition with local firms that are also advancing in VR technologies, such as Oppo. Despite this, early indicators suggest a strong demand for the Vision Pro. A search on the Alibaba-owned online marketplace Xianyu revealed that Vision Pros are being sold at nearly double their official price, indicating a robust gray market for the product.

Despite the enthusiasm in Asia, Apple’s latest tech venture has met with mixed reactions in its home market. Reports from the U.S. indicate a waning demand for the Vision Pro, prompting Apple to recalibrate its production strategies. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities, Apple has reduced the production of Vision Pro headsets as of April due to lower than expected demand.

Experts believe that the move to international markets is a strategic attempt by Apple to boost sales amidst disappointing U.S. figures. Le Xuan Chiew, an analyst at Canalys specializing in Apple strategy, noted, “The Vision Pro’s move to international markets is ahead of industry expectations and appears to be an attempt to drive sales amid lower-than-expected demand due to its niche use case and hefty price tag.”

Alongside the market expansion, Apple also unveiled the latest update to its operating system for the Vision Pro, dubbed VisionOS 2. This new version boasts enhanced features and AI integrations, making the headset compatible with over 2,000 apps. The updates are aimed at improving user experience and broadening the headset’s utility, potentially increasing its appeal across diverse consumer segments.

Key Features of VisionOS 2:

  • Enhanced AI capabilities for more intuitive user interactions
  • Compatibility with an extended range of applications, aiming to boost functionality
  • New user interface improvements designed for an immersive VR experience

Upcoming Global Availability

In addition to the Asian markets, Apple disclosed that the Vision Pro would be available for pre-order in several other countries, including Germany, France, Australia, the U.K., and Canada, with a launch scheduled for July 12.

As Apple navigates through the complexities of global markets, the success of the Vision Pro will depend on the company’s ability to adapt to local demands while leveraging its brand strength to overcome challenges in newer regions. The next few months will be critical in determining whether this high-stakes technological venture will achieve the global success Apple envisions or if adjustments will be necessary to align with market realities

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Featured Image courtesy of Ad Age

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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