The next country launch for the Apple HomePod smart speaker is China – including Hong Kong – where the device will go on sale this Friday (18 January).
It’s only the ninth market to get HomePod, following the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and Spain, with Apple’s device rolling out across the globe at a slower pace than rivals from Amazon and Google.
Apple’s announcement of the China launch focused mainly on repeating the HomePod product information, rather than detailing any particular features (or, indeed, pricing) for China and Hong Kong. Siri will be able to play music from genres including Mandopop and Cantopop, though, while Apple added that popular Chinese playlists on Apple Music, as well as its New Artist of the Week program, will be available through the HomePod.
According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Apple was the sixth-biggest player in the smart-speakers market in Q3 last year, with 1.1m shipments and a 4.8% global market share. That was behind Amazon (31.6%), Google (22.7%), Alibaba (9.5%), Baidu (8.4%) and Xiaomi (8.4%). Note the latter three: smart-speaker sales are growing rapidly in China, but Apple will face strong competition from the established local tech-companies there.