Here's a definition of "irony:" the country that actually builds the iPhone doesn't want to offer it for sale to its people.
Apple's attempts to convince Chinese Mobile (Mainland China's leading wireless carrier) to carry the handset have come to a screeching halt, despite the best business-slash-diplomacy efforts of both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook.
Wang Jianzhou, Chinese Mobile's CEO, isn't too thrilled with the idea that the App Store would be selling apps directly to iPhone owners. Jianzhou seems to believe that his company should have the right to sell both the hardware AND the software. Another sticking point: iTunes requires a credit card for purchases, while most Chinese cellphone customers like to deposit money into their mobile phone accounts to shop online.
This isn't the first speed bump that the House of Jobs has hit in dealing with Chinese Mobile: the carrier had originally rejected Apple's revenue sharing plan, which the company had made with other carriers at the time of the launch of the original iPhone. Apple dropped that plan with the release of the 3G, moving to the more common subsidized model — which CM also turned their noses up at.
Apple hasn't given up its attempts to replace Mao's Little Red Book with shiny new iPhones, insisting that that "we're constantly evaluating the best way to play in these
[emerging] markets. We know that there's a huge market opportunity
there, and we'll make adjustments in the future accordingly to play in
a stronger way." Some analysts think Apple should shift its focus to less dominant carriers, such as China Unicom or China Telecom, both of whom would love to stage their own "cultural revolution" against Chinese Mobile.
[Via Ars Technica]