Apple gets a license for iPhone to run on China Mobile Network

Apple gets a license for iPhone to run on China Mobile Network

Apple Inc. on Wednesday hosted its first-ever iPhone product introduction in Beijing and gained approval to offer the device with China's largest carrier, indications of how important the world's largest smartphone market has become for the Cupertino, Calif., company.

The approval could open a huge market for Apple. China Mobile has seven times the subscriber base of Verizon Wireless, the biggest carrier in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports.

The license was granted by China’s Telecom Equipment Certification Center, which is overseen by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). If China Mobile does indeed start supporting the iPhone, this will be the first time the device has been released by all three major carriers in China. Landing an agreement with China Mobile is especially important to Apple because it has 740 million users, or more than half of the estimated 1.2 billion mobile subscribers in China.

The company has tried to secure an agreement with China Mobile since 2011, when Steve Jobs reportedly traveled to China to negotiate with the carrier. Meetings with China Mobile, as well as the MIIT, were also key parts of Tim Cook’s visit to the country in January.

China is Apple’s most important market outside the U.S., but sales of the iPhone have been under pressure there thanks to competition from Android smartphones, which now account for over 70% of smartphone sales, compared to the 22% share held by iOS. In Q2 of this year, Apple posted its biggest quarter ever for the Greater China region, with $8.8 billion in revenues. But in Q3, revenues were down 43%, but still accounted for 14% of the company’s overall revenues.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has been targeting emerging smartphone markets such as China and India as it looks for new growth.

When unveiling its new iPhone models Tuesday, Apple said the devices would go on sale in China on Sept. 20, the same day as in the U.S.

Apple also held its first-ever iPhone product launch in Beijing Wednesday, showing the importance the company is placing on the Chinese market.

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Write by: RC - Wednesday, September 11, 2013

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