In an article I covered earlier this year, talks between Apple and China Mobile had broken down due to the network giant insisting on controlling the App Store in China. It has now come to light that China Unicom, China’s second largest network operator, has confirmed that they are in talks with Apple to provide the iPhone to its customers, but as of yet, it has not been confirmed that a deal is close to being struck.
According to Reuters, Chairman Chang Xiaobing told reporters, “We are in talks with many handset suppliers, including Apple.”
It has already been suggested by a British consulting firm that Apple may have already reached an agreement with the carrier. China Unicom is currently in the process of rolling out a new 3G network, and Chang predicts that 20 percent of all mobile phone users in China will be on 3G in the next 3 years.
Although talks broke down between Apple and China Mobile, Chairman Wang Jianzhou has stated that his company will continue to talk with Apple but refused to comment on any discussions between his rival China Unicom and Apple.
Analysts have highlighted some key reasons why the iPhone will not have the same positive impact in China as it does in other areas of the global market. iPhone knock-offs are readily available without long-term contracts in China, which gives doubt to there being a strong opportunity for turnover of the smart-phones.
The JP Morgan analysts stated, “iPhone is likely to be highly subsidized and China Unicom may give away large revenue share so earnings upside is possibly limited, in our view.” They went on to say, “We think this is a reason why China Mobile has refused to sign with Apple to date.”
Will the iPhone ever officially make it to China? Who knows, watch this space.
Source thanks to Appleinsider