Apple Car is for China

Thoughts on Apple Car, Part 16

Michael Schmidt
Apr 6, 2016 · 3 min read
Tim Cook got his mind set on China. (photo APK3)

It’s no secret China will be Apple’s most important market

Apple is approaching the point where its home country isn’t its largest market anymore. The US just can’t compete with China’s growth of the middle class, and the market opportunities seem endless there.

Soon the world’s biggest country will be the most vital market for the world’s largest company. – The Verge

This implies that the next product category Apple enters will be made for China, first and foremost.

Apple Car is not for the US

As my four takeaways from the NYT piece above suggest, China is better positioned to adopt Apple Car than the US – from a legislation perspective, as well as from a consumer experience and status POV, and finally from a business perspective as the car market expands like nowhere else.

  1. Cars just now became a status symbol for the middle class, which means they are not as deeply entrenched with the decades of legacy that we have seen in the West for generations. The Chinese may be more open to the idea of giving up driving.
  2. Traffic jams are nowhere else as bad as in China, which is the second turbo for adoption – this time from a negative experience. While the Chinese middle class is new and explorative to car ownership (positive turbo), they probably have immediately experienced the downsides.
  3. Finally, Apple does not go into declining markets, but expanding ones. Compare this to the state of the smartphone market in 2007. Opportunity. They can bring something new to the table.

Tesla is not for China

Although we don’t know the geographical split of Model 3 preorders, Tesla’s offering is rooted in the legacy mindset of the car industry – mostly from a product design and experience perspective.

Tesla’s amazing feat of preorders for Model 3 is actually a key indicator for Apple that there is tremendous interest in new mobility products from premium brands.

This for the US, and one can only wonder what that would look like in China.

Thoughts on Apple Car

Conceptualizations on the future car, a.o. shared by former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, Apple/Google/Dropbox designer Ryhan Hassan, Lyft and Snap VC investor Alex Giannikoulis, Wristly founder Bernard Desarnauts, and CaminaLab/Drivania/Shotl founder Gerard Martret.

Michael Schmidt

Written by

Director Consulting at Virtual Identity. I spent a decade on automotive brands in digital, and blog about brand strategy, #ubx and #AppleCar / #ProjectTitan.

Thoughts on Apple Car

Conceptualizations on the future car, a.o. shared by former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, Apple/Google/Dropbox designer Ryhan Hassan, Lyft and Snap VC investor Alex Giannikoulis, Wristly founder Bernard Desarnauts, and CaminaLab/Drivania/Shotl founder Gerard Martret.