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Nokia X pre-order reaching almost 4 million in China, but may not be the full story

Nokia's brand new Android-based smartphone "X" has been gaining amazing momentum in China, at least it looks so on paper. On March 10, Nokia started a pre-order campaign on JD.com, one of China's leading online vendors. Within 4 days, over 1 million units were pre-ordered through the platform. Earlier today Nokia China made an announcement with updated numbers, pushing the total count to a whopping 3.8 million.

Actually we don't need Nokia to tell us how well its pre-order campaign is doing, for the exact numbers are being updated in real time on JD.com's sales page. There it says Nokia X will be available in China in 3 different colors, and  the black version is doing the best (2.03 million pre-orders), which is followed by white (1.04 million), and green (0.84 million).

Despite the all positive outlook, it's well worth a mention that pre-order doesn't mean actual sales, especially in this case. Unlike how pre-orders are done in the United States, JD.com does not ask for one single penny for a down payment of the Nokia X. That means anyone and everyone with a JD account (free registration) could just log in, and create a theoretical pre-order by the quick click of a button, at no cost. And they have a good reason to do so: According to JD, all users making pre-orders between March 10 and March 24 have a chance to win a free Nokia X phone. I can feel a high level of false interest in this.

Nokia X will be available in China on March 24, exclusively to pre-ordered users first. As an entry-level device, it's officially priced at 699 RMB (113 USD), yet JD is now offering it at 599 RMB (97 USD). We will follow up on this, if Nokia China or JD reveals the actual sales by then.

Source: WPDang

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Reader comments

Nokia X pre-order reaching almost 4 million in China, but may not be the full story

117 Comments

Is it?

I suppose what it shows is that people really have rejected WP.  Anything with Android on it is instantly more desirable.

Honestly, I kind of have to agree with that sentiment.  For me, the biggest problem with Android isn't the OS, it's Google.  Get Google off my phone, and I'm suddenly a lot more interested.  WP the OS really is so outmoded by Android it's a little sad.

A lot of users in China seem to agree with that thought too. More than half of all androids sold in China do not have any Google services and use plain/ customized AOSP without Google Mobile Services.

It's not that that they agree. It's that China has it's own established companies for Search and chat and many other things.  The cheap Android phones are ASOP phones.  That's it.

Anything at that price point would be desirable. If anything this shows WP has a shot at capturing the Chinese market if WP handset prices can get that low. Because the Nokia X looks like a Windows Phone and has the the default Microsoft apps.

I suspect the Nokia X2 will have slightly better hardware, will run WP8.1 and be sold for the same low price.

Nope,Lumia 520 are about the same price as Nokia X but not so welcome,many people don't like the interface of WP including the start screen,the start screen looks stupid,it's not make full use of the screen,and WP lacks apps,I'm Chinese,I know what people know about WP in China

How does it NOT make full use of the screen?! Most people complain it makes TOO MUCH use of the screen. Please explain the logic behind your argument. WP allows more apps and content on screen then any other Mobile OS.

Secondly the Nokia X looks very similar to WP. So it 'looking stupid' is a strange argument.

For example the start screen tiles groups together in start screen leaves too much spare space on left and right side of the start screen on my Lumia 925,why can't it makes full use of the screen like 1320 does?you logic is many people like Nokia X because its interface looks like WP,on the contrary,many not like the WP style start screen,they love it because it's made by Nokia,and the start screen of WP looks messy,why not groups the tiles like windows 8 rt does?and I should mention that Nokia X products lines only products android phone not WP,Nokia manager said that

Too much space on the left and right of the startscreen? You must HATE Android, iOS or any other icon-grid OS. There is a very tiny bit of black/white space on the left and right side. Its as big as necessary to keep the tiles itself square. They could decrease the size of the (already tiny) space but it would mean larger tiles and thus less tiles on screen.

 

I do agree that WP should have the ability to group tiles. But its rediculous that this tiny omission would make WP look 'stupid' and NokiaX not.

A little larger but much more beautiful I think,and Microsoft should make 3 columns on all WP8 an option or at least on screen larger than 4.5" cause I think 3 columns looks beautiful and can also put enough tiles on start screen even without mini tiles,and can solve the if little bigger tiles 2 columns problems

Good for you, but if you think the start screen looks stupid... the Nokia X's start screen is obviously inspired by WP. So your point in this situation is invalid.

Nokia X start screen tiles can be grouped and separated like windows rt does,but on WP8 is messy,all messed together make you almost can't breathe

I was complaining it is wasting left and right side of the start screen and make it ain't beautiful and grouping could make space and make it beautiful at the same time

That wouldn't be the case; Nokia already sells several WP phones at a lower price point than what they are selling the X for, and nobody wanted them.

What are you taking about? The 520 is the best selling phone within its price category worldwide, including Android competitors.Plenty of people want one.

I wonder what kind of impact the Nokia X and XL would have on the L520/525 sales in China?  It certainly won't help.

Lumia 520 is truly available in China,Lumia 520,525,620,720,820,920,925,1020,1320,1520 are available in China

Yes, get Google off the phone because they are the boogie man! I mean MS doesn't scan your emails.  We'll I guess if they want to they can actually have people read your Hotmail account like they did when they searched for the person leaking their software.  It's not like MS is going to scan your email, calendar, texts, and location data any time soon. I mean no one is going to use Cortana because that would mean my privacy would be compromised. 

another Chinese here then.. Umm people around me generally don't like WP because of lack of apps. I know things are better when you switch to US app market but for most of Chinese speaking users they have to choose from the poor Chinese app market. For android the story is quite different, due to the huge population and high adopt rate of super-cheap android phones, often jailbreaked. Most of the everyday services are offered free here, for example free high quality music/ video download, free cloud storage as huge as 1TB, etc. But I still haven't see a single made-in-china music app that's decent on windows phone, so to speak.. And there's no Xbox music to use. All I have for alternative is Nokia mixradio and it is nowhere close to common nice apps on android. And it's now expired after 1 year of use..

I know pre-ordering isn't the same, but I'm still angry that these might sell better than their low cost windows phones, like the 52x series.

Lumia 520 and Lumia 525 sells in China,I'm Chinese I know that,but not sells so good because many Chinese not interested in WP,mainly for its interface ,they looks at the start screen and they leave away!

"...but not sells so good because many Chinese not interested in WP,mainly for its interface ,they looks at the start screen and they leave away!" -Yeah, you sounded like Chinese alright.

China is a difficult market because of the App gap and dual sim and all that. Microsoft/Nokia is grabbing a significant margin of the market by taking the best of Android, ripping out everything disgusting (ie Google) and offering it to the Chinese.

If Microsoft is successful they should command a significant share of the Android market in China, India by 2015. All of those customers using Microsoft services and giving Microsoft a huge boost in Advertising (Bing) and mindshare.

 

@Dreyer Smit.
There will still be the "App gap" as you put it because there won't be any official route into the Google Play ecosystem, which is where the vast majority of Android applications live.
However, because these devices can be easily hacked Google Play and other Google services will be readily available to those who want them. I'd certainly consider getting one if they are ever released in the UK.

Not really in china. From what I heard, android phones in china does not have google play installed. But solely depend on the 3rd party app stores. In that case it does not matter.

No, Chinese people not hate google or google apps,though most of Chinese android phones not have google services,many not use Google services because YouTube,Facebook,twitter and so on can't use in China,many people love Nokia but hate WP for its slowly improvements and lack of apps and the poor broken OS,I'm Chinese,I know that clearly

So true, i have been root mi android, and i really that i really hate google service, and they are not needed. Not even playstore, now when 4shared is so much better. Android itself is nice, but golgle service is like a prison. Thank goodness for superuser and app delete apps.

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This series makes the 520X look like high-end luxury goods. I'm not angry. This simply shows that Microsoft's devs should focus on further lowering the hardware requirements of Windows Phone.

No ,I think Microsoft should do most to improve the WP OS,many Chinese don't like WP,for it's lacks of basic features and apps,Microsoft don't know about Chinese at all,Xiaomi is much more expensive but sells much much better than Lumia 520 and Lumia 525,and many Chinese even don't know about WP,and don't know Nokia still products phones,almost no advertisements about WP and Nokia Lumia phones,I know that causes I am Chinese

Well apparantly Nokia has no problem getting word out about this device. So on the marketing side its not a lost cause.

I can't comment on the apps missing for the chinese market but worldwide WP is now getting all the big apps. Locally, for me, WP also has all the musthave apps like local services and banking apps. But what basic features does it miss? Besides all the stuff that is done but wont be released until 8.1?

As to apps,lacks of banks apps ,commercial apps,and many popular apps lacks many features compared to android and IOS,and lacks Tencent games which is very popular in China,a big part of young Chinese people play them.
As to features,it will get much better when WP8.1 updated,but we still can't see calling recording,can't see 3 part core browser ,and IE can't access to some website and links can't be open up,for example I can't read all sina comments which is one of the most popular website in China,also can't do that in sina weibo,and IM notification push delay problem bothers many,and lacks of missed notification light alarm,and poor customize of the start screen,and so on

Does Android natively records calls? And what is '3 part core browser'? How is a poorly optimized website a 'missing feature' of WP? What does a shitty app have anything to do with WP? The only feature I can somewhat relate to is not having a notification light.

 

I also compleetly disagree with poor customization. I find WP allows me to personalize my startscreen much more than Android. Although I consider 'customization' more about putting as much content that is relevant to me on screen. Not necessarily about adding a background picture. Which btw will come to 8.1 as well.

I acknowledge what many Chinese people thought though Chinese WP community forums and people around and comments on other major website,not so exactly but not far

Dude, you being Chinese doesn't mean you speak for more than a billion other chineses, grow up. There are a countless number of variables to explain why WP isn't a hit in China, but your whole "I know because I'm Chinese" doesn't mean a thing.

Would you rather they be on Microsoft's free services or Google's?
Edit: In the long run, this is very beneficial for Microsoft because the data that they get can help to improve their services. For example, Cortana can grab from Bing and Foursquare, but lets face it, for a lot of people, Google is the one that has a lot of their information. Now sure, Outlook has almost as many active users as Gmail, but Microsoft doesn't collect data from peoples emails, so that doesn't help. More people means more data entries which means better products.

It looks like a Windows Phone, it runs mIcrosoft apps but it's cheaper then a Windows Phone. If these pre-orders translate to actual sales then this shows WP has a real shot at capturing the Chinese market if they can sell devices at lower prices. And until they can the Nokia X will keep 'true' Android from total domination. Seems like this is going to help WP in developing markets.

Wow I'm surprised it has been this long for wpcentral to do an article on android smartphone. It has been at least a week hasn't it?

Er no, it proves the power of free. The Nokia X team is probably laughing its collective ass off for being able to pass off giveaway registrations as preorders.

Pre-orders in Europe don't require any money either. Exactly the same way. Remember that next time you hear stories about pre-orders of Lumias or Xboxs or iPhones or whatever in Europe, too.

I've never cared much for preorder numbers myself, but that's certainly good to know. Of course, such preorders can be said to indicate some level of demand for the product at the very least. Nokia is tying in a prize draw, which muddies the water much more.

Could I ask: does that mean that you get charged once there is stock, or does it mean that you don't need to enter any payment information beforehand?

There are two options (depending on the store): 1- you get charged when the product if shipped to you if you don't cancel the pre-order; or 2 - you get an email to confirm your interest and then the order goes through as normal.

Why would people to through the trouble to pre-order a cheap device and then not buy it? In Europe pre-orders are a good estimation of actual sales. I don't see why it would be any different in China.

It's no trouble at all because it's so easy to put your name down in that pre-order list since there's no downpayment required, plus you also get a chance to win a free phone.

No, this proves the power of a contest for free phones in a country of billions of people.
We'll see what it proves when actual sales start happening.

If there was promotion where you can register to "purchase" a Nokia X and enter a prize draw but there was no charge, would you run the following headline?

"Nokia X sales reaching a hundred million, but may not be the full story"

Say it as it is. Nokia has 4 million signups for a free prize draw.

Its still much better than 99.9% of the articles about this elsewhere on the web, who conveniently leave out the details. Like the contest and no down payment required.

You - whoever you are "Chassit" - may write that you sense this and that. But the fact is, promotion or not, it shows a huge level of interest in the device nonetheless. And that's good for Nokia in my book.

From what I've seen of this device it's already miles ahead of the L520 in terms of functionality. I'll be getting this when it's out.

I believe PureView considers it miles ahead because the phone has already been rooted and is already both able to run Google apps but also Google launcher. Which means it is just a matter of time before there's a 4.4.2 ROM for it. So, because it can run stock Android and all the Android apps, with specs similar to the 520, it's miles ahead.

DJCBS, I know you're a Nokia fan boy and Microsoft hater... but you can't honestly believe that the Nokia X is miles ahead of the Nokia Lumia 520, just because it can get some Google apps. Seriously, that's manure and you know it.

But the fact is, promotion or not, it shows a huge level of interest in the device nonetheless

How is this a fact? A giveaway incentivises people who might not be interested in the device at all.

Would you enter a contest to win something you have no interest in just because it can get you a free item? Say, would you enter a contest to win a kit of lady hygiene products (assuming you're a guy) just because it's free?
It shows lots of interest in the device. China has tons of local brands producing AOSP phones. None, to my knowledge, rose this kind of interest. Even if they don't sell those 4 million devices, it creates awareness to them.

Say, would you enter a contest to win a kit of lady hygiene products (assuming you're a guy) just because it's free?

What a cop-out. A phone is not a demographic-specific item like a lady hygiene product, and its value is likely higher. If I was in the market for a phone and was never considering the Nokia X, but had a chance to win one, maybe I would enter a contest. I might even give it away, as it makes for a decent gift.

I enter contests all the time for products that I would never actually buy.
Show me a contest for that curved LG Android phone and I'll sign up, but I would never actually buy that thing.

No,Xiaomi draw much more attention than Nokia X in China,preorder has become an ordinary way to buy phones in China,by the way,I am Chinese

These are not pre-orders, these are basicaly contest entries. As the article indicates, there is no cost to "pre-order" at all.

I don't see what's up with people here, every time I go to store to see paid game reviews, it goes like -
"WTF? This game still paid? Android has it free for ages. This is why I'm gonna drop Windows 8 [they are least bothered about W8 and WP8 of course], or get a Nokia X. MSFT is so rich still they have paid games [common mass have no idea about pricing tactis, they blindly blame MSFT]"
Keeping these in minds, I guess low end devices like L520 are in danger.. At least here in India.

The last week must have been slow, because there have been a lot of non-WP articles and many of the ones about WP have kinda sucked.
It may be like this for the next couple of weeks until BUILD.

Windows Phone started with disappointing sales volumes too. Given time like WP, Nokia X series will pick up. And who knows, it may even exceed the sales of WP too.