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iPhone comes to China without key feature [asiancorrespondent.com]
Unicom's first iPhones lack WiFi, a possible handicap with sophisticated, demanding Chinese buyers. The technology, a key part of the iPhone's appeal, allows the phones in other markets to use wireless networks in cafes and offices to download e-mail and the latest applications for free.
"There's going to be a perception that the phone they have is dumbed down from the one that somebody has in California," said Duncan Clark, chairman of BDA China Ltd., a Beijing-based technology research firm. "We've seen before that Chinese consumers don't like to be treated like second-class citizens."
Apple Inc. and Unicom also could face competition from an unusual source: unlocked iPhones brought in from abroad that have WiFi.
joined:June 15, 2001
WiFi can be encrypted and might allow more secure communications than they would like in China. I'm not sure of their reasoning, but it does seem like a possibility for dropping this feature.