Good news for Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) today on sales in China.
In the U.S., consumers have relied largely on credit when it comes to purchasing a new smartphone, in this case, an iPhone. However, China has largely been a cash-based economy, meaning that if you didn't save you yuan diligently, you were out of luck for the latest and greatest in consumer electronics.
Reports out Monday have China Merchant Bank customers now able to get financing for new devices through Apple's China online website. The bank will extend credit to customers for new devices, with payment plans of 1, 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 installments. No interest is on the first four plans, but the 18 installment option has interest of 6.5 percent and 24 installment option has an 8.5 percent rate.
The move will allow more people access to smartphones without Apple needing to cut prices and, thus, margins. The iPhone 5, iPad 4, and iPad mini came to China's market quicker than expected last month, with analysts largely bullish on demand for at least the iPad mini. The coming weeks will be key for Apple in the region as shoppers will be out ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday.
China counts for about 15 percent of Apples total revenue, a number CEO Tim Cook expects to increase in the coming years. Cook was in China last week, meeting with dignitaries as well as key executives. One meeting was with China Mobile (NYSE: CHL) CEO Xi Gouhua. For more color, click here.