China Unicom recently released its 2009 Interim Results, and amidst revenue number-crunching and 3G network updates was buried the following paragraph:
On 28 August, the Company and Apple reached a three-year agreement for
the Company to sell iPhone in China. The initial launch is expected to
be in the fourth calendar quarter of 2009. This will provide users with
brand new communication and information experience.
Which means the long-rumored penetration of Mainland China by the House of Jobs is finally coming to fruition. One interesting point to this announcement is that CU will not be sharing revenue with Apple; in point of fact, they will be purchasing iPhones wholesale and reselling them to customers. Unicom Chief Executive Chang Xiaobing promised an unspecified subsidy to lower the iPhone's final cost. Additionally, government rules mandate that the handsets will have their Wi-Fi capabilities removed.
Still, with just under 700 million wireless subscribers, the opening of the Great (Telecom) Wall can be nothing but a boon to Apple.
[Via the Wall Street Journal]