Apple in major Chinese iPhone deal

Apple Store, Beijing 16 December 2013Apple describes China as “an extremely important market”

US computer giant Apple has signed a deal to bring its iPhone to China Mobile – the world’s largest carrier.

China Mobile, which has 760 million customers, will make the two latest iPhone models – the 5s and 5c – available from 17 January.

Last month China Mobile was one of three networks to be awarded China’s first 4G licences.

“China is an extremely important market for Apple,” said chief executive Tim Cook in a statement.

“Our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world’s largest network.”

China’s bestselling three smartphone makers are Samsung, Lenovo and Coolpad, according to a recent report by the consultants IDC.

Until now, China Mobile subscribers have not been able to use Apple’s iPhone, because the firm’s 3G technology was not compatible with Apple handsets. However its 4G network will work with the iPhone 5s and 5c.

China is the world’s biggest smartphone-using country, with 1.2 billion users.

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