Okay, so I'm not too surprised as the iPhone is officially available in China while Windows Phone (WP) is not. WP can be purchased in some computer markets but not officially through a phone carrier.
In fact, I just realized while writing this post that I have never seen one in public. And why would I? There is not yet Chinese character input (which is supposedly on its way). It is unfortunate that those few people (I mean very, very few people) with Windows Phones did have access partically blocked to their app marketplace. But that is not the important story. The important story is how Microsoft is a complete non-player in what I, and I'm sure others, consider the world's most important mobile market.
Apple certainly understands China's importance, with China becoming the fastest growing iPhone market in the world (all while beating Lenovo on their home soil). I know I keep mentioning this but it needs merits further mentioning: you see iPhones and iPads everyone in China's large cities, whether on buses, in coffee shops, on metros, in CEO offices, or by way of fake iOS GPS lookalike. Apple has complete brand awareness. And this explosion has all happened in the last 3 years.
While every fifth person has an iPhone, the other four have one Android, one Nokia, and two simple candy bars. I really want to like WP and the new Nokia WP phone is very tempting, but how has it taken this long for WP to officially enter the Chinese market? From my daily experience, Chinese consumers are not waiting around for it or even know of it.
The only hope WP still has is Nokia. The company's image is still very strong (probably only second to Apple's) but their Windows Phone phone needs to come out in China before the end of this year. Almost every executive now has an iPhone or an Android phone and a new iPhone 5 is going to be huge for that market segment. But it seems there is 20% or so that still use and value Nokia. I was even tempted at one point to buy a WP but the lack of Asian character input made it impossible. Nokia and Microsoft need to get this phone out quickly, and it needs to have Chinese character input. If not, Apple has the high-end Chinese market won.
P.S. I foresee a problem with WP ownership in China as the tightening integration of the platform with Facebook may be unusable here. Facebook is completely blocked and this integration would only be accessible by use of a VPN running in the background (I have a VPN on my iPhone but it drains the battery quickly). I cannot confirm if Facebook functionality is usable or not as there is not a single WP in public to test this theory. So it is currently just a theory.
P.P.S. Another non-story is BlackBerry. I see so few, I actually felt compelled to sneak a photo of a Chinese military man next to me on the airplane using a BlackBerry. This is one of the scariest photos I have ever taken. Note the Rogers carrier branding.