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Apple, China Mobile deal likely soon
August 16, 2013, 7:29 am

With 1.11 billion mobile phone users, China is already the biggest mobile market in the world [Xinhua]

With 1.11 billion mobile phone users, China is already the biggest mobile market in the world [Xinhua]

Apple Inc and China Mobile Ltd are on the verge of announcing a deal that could see the new iPhone operate on China Mobile’s network.

China Mobile’s Chairman Xi Guohua said on Thursday that both sides have shown “a positive attitude” in the ongoing talks.

Xi said he was optimistic but declined to provide details.

China Mobile had registered 740.1 million users by the end of June and is the world’s largest mobile carrier.

Apple had earlier refused to redesign its iPhone so that it can work on China Mobile’s self-developed TD-SCDMA 3G networks.

Apple is expected to unveil a new version of the iPhone next month and may also release a cheaper smartphone targeted at emerging markets.

With 1.11 billion mobile phone users, China is already the biggest mobile market in the world.

The new Apple smartphones are widely expected to use Qualcomm Inc’s chips, which are compatible with China Mobile’s network.

This deal could stem the steep decline of Apple sales in China even as it is losing market share to South Korean Samsung Electronics Co.

Samsung sold 15.3 million smartphones in China in the April-June period, grabbing a market share of 19.4 percent, up 0.9 percentage point from the previous quarter, according to Strategy Analytics

Apple just sold 3.4 million units, accounting for 4.3 percent of the market in the same period although Apple now has 11 retail stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Hong Kong.

Apple ranks 6th in China’s smartphone market, facing tough competition from Chinese brands, research firm IDC figures showed in December last year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook met China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua in Beijing last month, his second China visit in 2013.

Earlier in April, facing a barrage of criticism from Chinese media, Apple chief executive Tim Cook had apologised to Chinese consumers over poor customer services.

China is widely expected to grant 4G licenses by the end of 2013.

China Mobile began building a trial 4G network in several Chinese cities, including Hangzhou, in 2011.

China’s population stood at 1.354 billion at the end of 2012, so there is still scope for the telecom market to grow.

With the advancement of 4G technology, 4G wireless cards and 4G mobile phones are expected to be ready for commercial use this year.

 

With inputs from Agencies

 

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