Apple getting closer to iPhone deal with China Mobile

“Apple Inc. is getting closer to offering the iPhone through China’s largest mobile carrier, state-owned China Mobile Ltd., further opening a vast market that could be the next growth catalyst for the technology giant,” Loretta Chao and Yukari Iwatani Kane report for The Wall Street Journal.

“Apple’s acting day-to-day head and chief operating officer, Tim Cook, last month visited China Mobile’s offices in Beijing,” Chao and Kane report. “Both companies declined to comment on Mr. Cook’s rare visit, but the carrier confirmed the two companies are in talks about the iPhone.”

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Chao and Kane report, “The iPhone has been available in China through the country’s second largest carrier, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd., since 2009, and Apple has created a Chinese version of its App Store. But China Mobile, also the world’s largest carrier, has 600 million subscriber accounts, compared with less than 200 million at China Unicom.”

MacDailyNews Note: For perspective, as os Q1 2011, Verizon Wireless has 104 million subscribers and AT&T Mobility has 97.5 million subscribers in the U.S.

Chao and Kane report, “The iPhone is likely to be offered through China Mobile in the next 12 months, analysts said. The timing partly depends on whether Apple decides to offer the device for the carrier’s homegrown technology standard, TD-SCDMA, or wait until the carrier rolls out a fourth-generation network called TD-LTE, which China Mobile has been testing in select cities.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

6 Comments

  1. This may not be the type of news that has us railbird geeks drooling over the next big thing. But if you’re an Apple stockholder like me, it IS the next big thing. Such a deal would open up a vast new market for the iPhone.

    Fingers crossed!

    1. iOS is a big deal in Asia and for Apple.

      that’s because it’s easier to write Chinese etc on tablets than type them on a keyboards. Touch screen is the ‘PC’ for non english speaking part of Asia.

      Ipads are being rolled out in schools and the armed forces in Asia.

      Apple’s asia strategy has been quietly growing over the years:
      – Apple’s purchase of HWPen chinese character recognition technology a few years ago
      – hiring of Andrea Jung to Board of Directors. Jung is a marketer and supposed to have some knowledge of Asia.
      – about half of Apple’s projected new stores will be in China and Asia.

      Third parties like Hon Hai etc are also jumping in with plans to open hundreds of Apple product stores. Shanghai Apple Store is the most profitable in the world.

      I think we haven’t seen anything yet in Apple’s Asian growth.

      1. I agree with you that the “greater China” region will contribute to AAPL revenue higher than Europe/Africa/ S. America combined!!
        The logistics of building and delivering iPhone & iPads to billion people wanting to buy will be a ” good ” problem for AAPL 🙂

        Buy & Hold AAPL stocks MacDogs!

  2. That’s a lota iPhones to sell, man. Apple better get another factory in China up and running first. Or maybe 3 more, plus a couple for iPads . . . .

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