China Unicom and China Telecom to Accept iPhone Preorders After the Beijing Event

A man uses a China Unicom public telephone in Beijing

Chinese carriers China Unicom and China Telecom will offer Apple’s forthcoming iPhone models shortly after the U.S. launch, reports Reuters.

The news agency has added his voice to reinforce earlier rumours claiming that this year Apple won’t delay the Chinese iPhone launch by weeks or months. A mobile phone retailer has even suggested that it will sell the new iPhone models on September 25.

Apple said earlier this week it was holding a satellite event in Beijing on September 11, the day after it is expected to unveil its latest iPhones in the United States. The September 11 event is the first time Apple will launch in China at almost the same time as in the United States, underscoring the importance of the Chinese smartphone market, the biggest in the world.

“There used to be a wait of a few months before Apple launches their latest products in China, but nowadays, China is too important a market for Apple and so it will be the first batch of markets to start selling the low and high-end iPhones next week,” said a source at one of the telecom carriers, who declined to be identified as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

China Telecom accidentally teased its iPhone 5S and 5C preorder page yesterday on Weibo, but pulled it back shortly afterwards.

The imminent Chinese launch is part of Apple’s efforts to gain market share in China, which wasn’t too bright lately, as we previously reported.

Also, Apple is widely expected to announce an agreement with the world’s largest carrier, China Mobile, this fall, with the wireless player carrying the iPhone 5S and 5C as early as September. Because the carrier speeded up the launch of its 4G LTE networks, it is widely expected that the iPhone models will be compatible with its TD-LTE network.

What looks to be certain, though, is that China Telecom and China Unicom will accept iPhone pre-orders shortly after the launch in Beijing.

Apple has lost significant market share in China, ranking No. 7 in the second quarter of 2013, down from No. 5 in the first quarter, Canalys, a market research company, said.