China Mobile's 763 million customers will soon be able to purchase and use the iPhone after Apple struck a deal with the world's largest wireless network over the weekend.
The partnership, which was announced Sunday, will help Apple to increase its worldwide sales while giving China Mobile an advantage over its competitors, which gravitate more toward Google's Android platform, the New York Times reported.
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"Apple has enormous respect for China Mobile and we are excited to begin working together. China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world's largest network," Tim Cook, Apple CEO, said in a statement.
"iPhone customers in China are an enthusiastic and rapidly growing group, and we can't think of a better way to welcome in the Chinese New Year than getting an iPhone into the hands of every China Mobile customer who wants one," he continued.
Apple is currently the No. 5 smartphone maker in China, behind Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo, and Yulong, according to the Times.
Experts say the company's main problem will tailoring the iPhone's price for the cost-conscious Chinese consumer. Only 176 million China Mobile customers — less than a quarter of its total subscribers — fork over the extra money per month for high-speed wireless data packages and 3G technology, so industry insiders assume they won't be willing to shell out hundreds for something like an iPhone 5S.
Apple iPhones will be available for sale to China Mobile customers starting Jan. 17.
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