China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless operator, announced earlier this week that it is in talks with Apple to sell the iPhone. MobileCrunch reported in August of this year that Chinese Pirates Copy (the) iPhone. Now it seems the population of China may be able to buy the real thing, not just cheap knockoffs.
The iPhone has moved from its European launch this month and is going to be offered in Asian markets next year. It looks as though the Chinese want in on the action. A deal with China Mobile or China Unicorn would give Apple access to a market with 523 million subscribers, more than the combined population of Europe. If the iPhone’s coverage area continues to grow like this, it won’t be long before penguins in Antarctica are complaining about being locked to one carrier.
One point between the companies that has to be worked out deals with revenue sharing. Analysts have estimated that AT&T pays Apple $10 to $20 a month for each subscriber. Similar agreements hold true in Europe.
“Our customers like this kind of fashionable product,” China Mobil’s chairman, Wang Jianzhou, said at a conference in Macao, referring to the $399 iPhone handset made by Apple. “The biggest issue is the business model.”
I can’t get over the fact that the leader of a Chinese company is talking about a business model instead of a five-year plan. Chairman Mao must be very concerned.
For all you good capitalists, Apple’s shares rose more yesterday than they had in over a year with the news from China. The stock added $16.20 to close at $169.96 in NASDAQ trading. China Mobile stock rose over 9% at the end of trading today, to close at $18.08. China Unicorn, which is interested in the iPhone but hasn’t talked with Apple yet, was up 6% and now sells for $1.98. I wish I had a piece of that action.