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China Unicom to start shipping iPhone next month

updated 02:30 am EDT, Wed September 23, 2009

Two year contracts available with 8GB, 16GB iPhone

Chinese mobile phone provider China Unicom is expected to begin selling the iPhone next month. Users will be tied to a two year contract with a $27 (186 CNY) monthly charge and can purchase either the 8GB iPhone for $293 (1,999 CNY) or the 16GB version for $439 (2,999 CNY). The telecommunications company believes it will sell more than five million iPhone units over a three year period, according to the China Times.

The Chinese mobile phone market is currently the largest untapped market for the iPhone with approximately 687 million subscribers. When compared to the 270 million subscribers in the US, an entry into the Chinese market could signal potentially large profit margins.

China Unicom recently stuck an official iPhone deal, but the contract is not exclusive. However, a move from Unicom to China Mobile, the country's largest cellphone carrier is unlikely -- such a move would require a new model iPhone compatible with the company's TD-SCDMA broadband format.

by MacNN Staff



  1. prairiedogg

    Joined: Dec 1969


    China iPhone Crippled

    I wonder what the market response in China will to an iPhone that can't do wifi (only edge / 3g) ... HK iPhones work great with Unicom's service, I wonder if this is going to have an affect on sales in the mainland.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple is doing what it can

    working with a country that's so worried about internet security. Consider this a trial for Apple products. Five million iPhones for a period of five years sure doesn't seem like an awful lot of sales for such a large country, but as an Apple investor, I just glad some quantity of iPhones are being sold to Chinese citizens. I hope it is received warmly by those that can afford it.

    I'm a bit puzzled that a company with Apple's size and cash reserve can't easily integrate the Chinese standard WiFi into the iPhones. This is just due to my ignorance of what it would take to gain compatibility. I'm just guessing it would take a modified WiFi chip.

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