August 16, 2009

China Unicom says it hasn't bought 5 million iPhones from Apple

Cupertino-based Apple and Chinese mobile phone carrier China Unicom have been recently rumored to plan on launching Apple's iPhone on the Chinese market as soon as September, yet it seems that the rumors are now proved false. While previous reports pointed towards the fact that a deal between the two had already been inked, the carrier denied them, though confirming that it was in talks with Apple.

State-owned China Unicom also denied reports pointing towards the fact that it already bought 5 million iPhones from Apple. “Talks between us and Apple have been going on for some time, but no agreement has been reached yet,” said Unicom spokesman Yi Difei, cellular-news reports. “There are all kinds of possibilities. There is no particular timetable for the talks.”

The rumor about the closed deal between the two came from the newspaper China Business News, which stated recently that a three-year exclusive iPhone deal between Apple and China Unicom had already been signed, and that the carrier had agreed to pay 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) for a number of 5 million iPhones. “The report is not true,” Yi said, yet declined to provide further details on the talks between the two parties.

Apple seems to have denied the rumors as well, through Tiffany Yang, a Beijing spokeswoman with the company. Even so, the newspaper claims that the information came from a sales manager for Unicom's subsidiary in the southern province of Guangdong, Yu Zhaonan, while also stating that the iPhone is set to become available in the country in September.

For what it's worth, the deal between the two companies will be a win-win, as both of them are trying to rise their profits, and a partnership for the introduction of one of the most popular devices on the market in a country with the largest number of mobile phone users might be just the thing. China Unicom, the second largest carrier in the country, has accounted for a number of 133 million users as of December 31, 2008.



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