iPhone arrives China Mobile, the world’s largest operator

December 22, 2013: After months of fake beginnings, Apple is finally reaching an agreement with China Mobile to bring the iPhone to the world’s largest telecom company.

With 760 million potential iPhone buyers pending, this deal is shaping up as Apple’s most important to date for developing its brand in China. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cooks says that country will soon become the company’s largest market.

“China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us with an opportunity to bring the iPhone to customers of the world’s largest network,” Cook said in a statement when the news broke. “IPhone buyers in China are a fast-growing enthusiastic group and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate Chinese New Year than to get an iPhone in the hands of every China Mobile user who wants it.”

The iPhone is finally coming to China Mobile

That move took a long time to prepare. Apple has been negotiating with China Mobile since the iPhone was launched. Negotiations allegedly failed over Apple’s terms, which required revenue sharing.

Nevertheless, the demand of Chinese buyers certainly existed. As early as 2008, a year after Apple announced the iPhone, BusinessWeek reported that 800,000 to 1 million iPhones disappeared after a legitimate purchase. It was later claimed that 400,000 of these iPhones were used, unlocked by hacks, on China Mobile.

Provided these figures were correct, they accounted for about 10% of iPhones sold at the time. The number even surpassed all iPhones used in Europe at the time.

However, negotiations between Apple and China Mobile have dragged on. They finally began moving in 2013, when Cook met with China Mobile President Xi Guohua to discuss “cooperation issues” between the two companies.

Apple: Great in China

The China Mobile deal coincided with a re-entry into China on behalf of Apple. Cook revealed that Apple designed the new devices keeping in mind the Chinese audience. This was probably most evident with Apple’s decision to start producing larger iPhones. The company turned its back on Steve Jobs’ reluctance to use big phones (which he complained about “you can’t reach”). In 2014, Apple released the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus – which belonged to the category of phablets popular among smartphone buyers in Asia.

In addition, Apple is committed to the astonishingly rapid expansion of its retail facilities in China. The company has set an ambitious (and successful) goal of establishing 40 Apple stores in the country by 2016.

Not everything went smoothly for Apple in China, of course. Without a doubt, 760 million potential customers sounds like a huge number. But only a small fraction of these people are in a position to afford an iPhone.

Fight for the cheap Chinese smartphone market

The iPhone 5c and SE point to a lower market share. However, Apple never truly accepted the idea of ​​creating a phone to fight cheap Android devices. As a result, former Apple artist Xiaomi dominates the market for people who want an iPhone but can’t afford it. And Apple continues to lose market share in China.

Apple has also encountered various problems with the Chinese government. In 2014, national security concerns raised in state-controlled Chinese media led Apple to switch to China Telecom servers instead of its own to power iCloud for Chinese users.

Apple has also been forced to accept Chinese government requests to conduct a network security assessment for all Apple products before they are imported into the country. Apple equipment was additionally removed from the list of approved state procurements in favor of Chinese-made products.

However, not all the news was bad. The contract with China Mobile has brought more iPhones into the hands of the people as planned. And Cook reportedly made a secret deal with the country’s leaders in 2016 to invest $ 275 billion in Apple’s money in strengthening China’s economy and “technological strength.”

China now makes Apple the most profitable application market worldwide. In the future, it seems that this market will continue to provide a great opportunity (and occasional headache) for Cupertino.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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