updated 09:15 am EST, Mon March 3, 2008
China Mobile on iPhone
Interest in the iPhone continues to exist at China Mobile, despite no progress with Apple, according to the former company's CEO. The two parties broke off negotiations in January, at least temporarily denying Apple access to the Chinese market; although no official explanations were given, it is believed that China Mobile is refusing to submit to revenue sharing, a practice common with other iPhone carriers but unprecedented in China. Businesses in the country are in fact hostile to the concept, some reports have suggested.
Reuters quotes China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou, however, who has told an annual parliament advisory meeting that the iPhone is still a possibility. "As long as our customers want this kind of product, we will keep all options open," he says. The problem is that no discussions are presently underway. "We have not yet officially begun talks with Apple over the iPhone problem," Wang notes.
Aside from revenue sharing, the greatest issue is likely to be cost. At $499, the 16GB iPhone is twice the average monthly salary of a Chinese worker, before taxes or the unique costs of an iPhone-oriented data plan. This is particularly damaging when faced with the number of imitation iPhones on the Chinese market, which are stylistically similar while dramatically cheaper.