Even in the wealthiest parts of China, the average monthly income barely breaks US$750, according to a 2011 report by China Daily:
Mobile phones sold internationally are rarely subsidized by carriers as they are in the United States. So instead of signing onto a contract in exchange for a cheaper device up front, consumers in China often wind up paying the full cost of the phone. One notable exception is China Telecom, which began selling the iPhone 4S last year at the discounted rate of US$62 on a two-year contract.
We don't know yet whether China Mobile's recent deal with Apple includes a device subsidy or how much it might be. But if it comes out resembling China Telecom's numbers, it would still eat up nearly 10 percent of the average Beijinger's income in a month — and more for those living in less wealthy markets.