China Unicom denies buying 5 million iPhones; no deal inked just yet

“State-owned China Unicom Ltd. said Friday it is talking with Apple Inc. about becoming an iPhone carrier but denied a report it has reached a deal and will buy 5 million handsets,” Joe McDonald reports for The Associated Press. “‘Talks between us and Apple have been going on for some time, but no agreement has been reached yet,’ said Unicom spokesman Yi Difei. ‘There are all kinds of possibilities. There is no particular timetable for the talks.'”

“Mr. Yi declined to give details. But he denied a report by the newspaper China Business News that Unicom secured a three-year exclusive iPhone deal and would pay 10-billion yuan ($1.5-billion) for handsets,” McDonald reports. “‘The report is not true,’ Mr. Yi said.”

McDonald reports, “An Apple spokeswoman in Beijing, Tiffany Yang, said she had no information about an iPhone agreement in China… Apple’s talks with potential Chinese carriers have snagged on disagreements about how to share revenues, according to Chinese news reports.”

MacDailyNews Take: And, case in point, we all know how reliable Chinese news reports are, right?

More info in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


  1. Ah but there’s more … Despite this denial, Zhou Fang, the CBN reporter who broke the story, stands by his report and states that he made audio recordings of the interviews with the Guangdong Unicom executives (Zhou Youmeng and Yu Zaonan) who spilled the beans.

    Adding further legitimacy to the original CBN report is a post today (8/14) on Interfax TMT (sourcing another China Unicom insider who validates the 5 million claim) and the news today from a Carrefour source. Chongqing Evening News, quoting a Carrefour employee, states that the iPhone in China deal is a “go” and Carrefour would indeed be part of the distribution plan. The report states that iPhones could be ready to go on sale as early as late August and that Carrefour stores in Guangzhou and other costal areas have begun preparing store displays.

    DoNews in China, citing “unnamed sources,” claims that China Unicom’s handset distribution division Vsens intends to have two other iPhone distribution channels (aside from retail chains including Carrefour), Gome and Suning. iPhonAsia (yours truly) had previously speculated that retail chains distributing iPhones might include Best Buy China and Wal-Mart China.

    More w source links >

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