China Mobile and Apple ‘end’ talks over revenue negotiations; to meet in future talks

“China Mobile Ltd. said it ended talks to sell Apple Inc.’s IPhone in China, stalling Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs’s plans to introduce the handset in the biggest market by users,” John Liu reports for Bloomberg.

“Rainie Lei, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for China Mobile, said she is unaware of any plans for further talks with Apple. She wouldn’t say why the discussions stopped. Jill Tan, a Hong Kong- based spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment,” Liu reports. “The negotiations ended because Apple wanted more revenue from game, music and video downloads than China Mobile would offer, the Web site said today.”

“China Mobile, which already has an agreement to sell Research in Motion Ltd.’s Blackberry handsets in China, added 6.5 million subscribers in November for a total of 362.8 million. The carrier doesn’t rule out future cooperation with Apple, Lei said,” Liu reports. “China has more subscribers than the populations of the U.S., Japan, and the U.K. combined. The country was home to 539.4 million wireless-phone customers as of the end of November, according to government data.”

“Apple wanted 20 percent to 30 percent of fees from providing data services to iPhone users, said, citing Gao Nianshu, director of China Mobile’s data services. China Mobile, the world’s biggest wireless-phone company by subscribers, charges users for downloading games, music and Web sites over its wireless network,” Liu reports. “The companies will meet for another round of talks, today’s report said, without providing details.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Bob R,” “Steven,” and “Too Hot!” for the heads up.]

Please explain to us how this Bloomberg article can be headlined “China Mobile Ends Talks With Apple to Sell IPhone,” when it reports that the companies will meet for another round of talks? The article should be headlined “Apple and China Mobile take tea break during negotiations.” Leaks to the press during negotiations is standard procedure, but please, at least make the leaks make sense.


  1. Chinese Thinking: “We make the iPhone in our factories, know everything about it, why should we deal with Cupertino for our own market?”

    Apple Thinking: “We hope the Chinese will respect our innovation and open their markets to us”

    Chinese Thinking: “We will just copy the iPhone with one of our own, this way we can eliminate or control sources of free speech.”

  2. 1. 362.8 million subscribers tells me very little. Especially when the majority of them, being university graduates and working, still earn in one day what I earn in two hours.
    2. iPhones only appeal to the rich, but with China and HK, always getting rid of new toys for newer toys. Its not going to last. It’s not that they don’t need it, it’s just that theres something newer, it’s now the modern chinese culture. Unlike us, that we replace hoping for something better.

    Hence don’t play with distorted numbers. Just go in china and live with an average family for a week, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

  3. china unicom is cdma. (it also has gsm but is mainly cdma)
    if china unicom gets the nod, watch apple choose au mobile for the carrier in japan.
    it also opens up australian and brazil markets to apple with cdma.

  4. Some of the commenters have clearly never been to China. It is very much a two-tier society. While the worker class do work for a fraction of a US worker and live in company provided housing and look upon owning a bicycle as a move up situation, the manager class (including high tech university grads) are quite different. They live in modern apartments, drive BMWs and are compensated much like their western counterparts. They have to be, because they have internationally marketable skills.

    When you start talking about markets, the sheer size of the population of China make the numbers almost incomprehensible.
    Most of Chinas population might not be able to own a cell phone and the market could still be larger that the US market.

  5. Its still very dangerous to deal with China. They still believe that if they do not like you, its totally OK to steal your ideas and material, make unlicensed copies for free, and throw you in jail and throw away the key.

    “What lead paint in kids toys??? You must be mistaken! ”


  6. Don’t forget about India. Adding 6 mill subs per month and 200 mill total subs – 3/4’s of which are GSM based – make it the 2nd largest market. While both countries have experienced significant growth in commodity segments, they have also developed seriously wealthy upper middle and upper classes that are buying top tier handsets from around the world. Seems like Jobs and co have alternatives to get to big markets.

  7. China has the 3rd largest luxury goods market in the world, according to BusinessWeek. The idea that there aren’t enough customers to buy an iPhone is ludicrous. I have an apartment on the biggest shopping street in Shanghai, and it’s like 5th Avenue in NYC. All I do is windowshop!

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