Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) on Wednesday said that its HomePod wireless speaker will go on sale in China next year, potentially beating Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN.O) and Google (GOOGL.O) to the world’s most-populous nation.
On its website in China, Apple added a banner that said the speaker will go on sale in "early 2019." The Hong Kong website announced a similar move. The speaker will cost HK $2,799 (US$358), according to the website, roughly in line with pricing in the U.S. and other countries.
The HomePod originally launched in the U.S., Australia, and U.K. in February 2018, and expanded to Canada, France, and Germany in June.
The launch in China is notable as this would make Apple the first major smart speaker maker from the U.S. to launch in China’s huge internet market. Amazon and Alphabet Inc.’s Google don’t sell their popular smart speakers in China currently. Major local players, like Xiaomi Corp. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., dominate the Chinese market for the devices at the moment.
So far, the HomePod hasn’t sold well compared with the company’s other accessories like the AirPods. But continued international expansion will likely improve its prospects. Loup Ventures estimates that Apple will sell about 20 million HomePods a year by 2025, compared with Google selling nearly 200 million units and Amazon shipping about 138 million units that year.
Apple also released on Wednesday a standalone version of its USB-C charging adapter for iPad Pros and a clear case for the iPhone XR.