China may be the location in which most Apple products are manufactured, but the iPhone has yet to make a huge mark on the country. With the iPhone 5c outlined as the first step towards making an impact on this developing market, the The Wall Street Journal suggests that China Mobile, the nation’s foremost carrier by some distance, will begin taking iPhone pre-orders from 12th December. Although China’s 4G network doesn’t officially launch until next week on the 18th of December, it looks as though China Mobile wishes to get interested parties to commit early, and if all runs smoothly, this could be the first significant step for Apple in its quest to expand its mobile reach.
The launch of the iPhone in new markets is a lot more complicated than most other products. Network incompatibility thanks to China’s antiquated cellular infrastructure has, in the past, put the brakes on any notion of an iPhone launch, but with the wheels now finally in motion for the 4G process to complete on December 18th, Chinese folks eager to pick up a new iPhone will soon be able to do so.
The WSJ picked up on an advert on China Mobile’s website advertising the company’s 4G iPhone services, and having tried to pre-order one, the Journal was told by a customer rep that pre-orders would commence from Thursday.
Those looking to secure their iPhone in time for next week can do so either by heading to some select China Mobile branches in Shanghai, or by simply ordering through the website. The company also has some iPhone-specific price plans for consumers, although what exactly these will entail remains anybody’s guess.
Like Three UK, which is also rolling out its very competitively priced 4G services in Britain this month, China Mobile’s 4G should be available in a number of key cities by the year’s close, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Considering the hundreds of millions of China Mobile subscribers, there’s no way of overstating that this launch could be huge for business as far as Apple is concerned, and with many tens of millions iPhone units expected to ship next year, the Cupertino will surpass previous annual sales numbers by a considerable margin.
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