Apple said its smartphones will be available to China Mobile customers starting January 17. Pricing and availability details for the iPhone 5S and 5C lines will be disclosed at a later date, it said in a statement. China Mobile has about 760 million customers, will begin registering orders for iPhone from December 25, the company said on its account on the Sina-Weibo micro-blogging service.
Apple has failed to dent the Chinese market, which has been largely sewn up by rival Samsung. Most of the problem is caused by the fact that average Chinese have no money to waste on something that will be obsolete in a year. Apple has also refused to drop the price of its gizmos.
Apple didn't disclose financial terms of the agreement. Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, said in its statement that China is an extremely important market for the Cupertino-based company. Wall Street is not impressed with the deal, which is seen as coming too late and not guaranteed to cement Apple into the Chinese market. It is believed that there will be a slight uptick in Chinese sales initially and then these will tail off just as quickly.