Apple and China Mobile have announced both companies will now see a deeper relationship beyond just the sale of iPhones, reports the Wall Street Journal. A media briefing in China resulted in China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua revealing ‘multi-millions’ of iPhones have already been ordered by subscribers, with sales set to start Friday.
Update: speaking to CNBC China Mobile revealed as of January 13, 1.2 million iPhone pre-orders have taken place since December 25, or 60,000 per day. Apple CEO Tim Cook said “This is a watershed day.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was “incredibly optimistic” about the deeper business relationship, but would not elaborate on the details. He said this weekend the iPhone would reach over 3,000 additional China Mobile locations:
“We’ve gotten to know each other….today is a beginning, and I think there are lots more things our companies can do together in the future,”
“As of this weekend we will be selling iPhones in more than 3,000 additional locations… China Mobile already has a reach to many cities that Apple does not have a reach to.”
“Apple has always been about making the best products, not the most products, so that’s always our North Star and that’s not going to change ever,”
Apple’s iPhone is now available at all three of China’s state-run wireless carriers, with China Mobile being the world’s largest carrier with over 700 million subscribers (umm, Canada’s population is a measly 35 million); analysts expect the latter to sell a range of 15 to 39 million iPhones in 2014.
Update: The WSJ has posted its full Q&A with Tim Cook. An excerpt is below:
Q: What is the significance of the iPhone being launched through China Mobile?
Cook: What this partnership does is, it allow us to take the iPhone to a different level in China, to marry it with the fastest network, with TD-LTE [Time-Division Long-Term Evolution], for the very first time. As [China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua] said, this is a new product, this is a world phone. Now you can take your iPhone in China use it on TD-LTE and if you travel to the United States you can now use it on FDD-LTE [Frequency Division Duplexing Long-Term Evolution network]. This is a big deal, it’s huge, and so I couldn’t be happier with how we’re doing.