Throwback Thursday takes a look back into Beijing's past, using our nine-year-strong blog archives as the source for a glance at the weird and wonderful of yesteryear.

We like our apples in whatever colors they come. Let them be green or red or yellow, but our favorite varieties come in Space Grey or Rose Gold; or so the market would suggest. That explains why the world currently holds its breath, waiting for the even more special than the other special editions iPhone 8, released on the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone, and poised to break sales figures this fall.

But while its earth-shattering functions thus far only exist as nebulous rumor, the relative calm before the storm gives us a breather to look at the first wobbly steps Apple took into China's market back in 2007.

In July 2007, Mainland China was looking longingly at Hong Kong for the package of iPhones that were “due to arrive in Beijing any day.” Even with the anticipation, it's likely that no one could have imagined the amount of love that Apple was to receive from Chinese customers over the following decade. At least for a short time at least.

That's because the first imported iPhones in Mainland China were said to be selling for a ridiculous RMB 7,000 (more than 150 percent the marketplace elsewhere). On top of the astronomical price, it had not even been confirmed whether iPhones would be able to be unlocked so as to work on Chinese mobile networks, threatening to make them nothing more than a pricy pocket toy.

READ: Those Ubiquitous iPhones – An Estimated 1 Million in China

From then, the anticipation only built, even though our beloved Apple Store in Sanlitun (which also was the first official Apple store in China) did not have the phones on display when they opened in July of 2008. However, curious visitors could still get their hands on a full range of other Apple products so as to show their unwavering dedication.

That bumpy start, as we all know, didn't hinder Apple's eventual growth in China. But that's not to say that their reign was always guaranteed, with Apple currently occupying a not-so-satisfying fifth place amongst China’s mobile phone manufacturers, with the Chinese brand Huawei proudly standing as number 1. On top of this uncomfortable ranking, Apple is also experiencing an 18 percent drop in sales in China's market

One problem marring Apple from the beginning: the corporation's questionable conditions and treatment (long hours, low wages, and minimal overtime pay) of its factory staff via their suppliers Pegatron and Taiwanese-owned but Mainland China-based Foxconn. Although controversial, these factors have hardly affected the iPhone's popularity at home or abroad.

The biggest reason for die-hard Beijing Apple fans to get uppity about currently is the lack of functionality iPhone's have with the city's subway ticketing system, while Android users are scanning happily away.

So, while July seems to be a big month for Apple in China, their loosening grip on the country's market may be an indication that although a decade old this month, the iPhone may be a relic of the past come Throwback Thursday in July 2027. Make sure to check back with us then.

Images: Unplash, iDownload BlogCNBC


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