There are four China Mobile websites that are either taking orders or have some sort of information on Apple products. While there hasn’t been an official announcement between the two companies it sure does look like something has been agreed to even without a press release or joint announcement. (Note that my family and I own Apple shares).
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I tried to check out 31 different China Mobile city or province websites that are listed on its main website and was able to find about 20 of them. There were four that either had pictures of iPhones or text relating to iPhones and iPads. Below is information on the four which given all the ups and downs of what has been written about the relationship between the two companies the past few weeks does seem to indicate something could be announced sooner rather than later.
China Mobile Beijing has been taking orders from over a week ago
Starting over a week ago China Mobile’s Beijing site has been taking reservations for iPhone’s. A friend of mine translated the symbols “立即预约” at the top of the page to mean “book now” or “immediate reservation.” As of Saturday morning the count was over 75,000 which in some ways feels low. You also get 1GB of free data for four months.
Source: China Mobile Beijing website
China Mobile Guangdong has an iPhone survey
China Mobile Guangdong’s website has a “willingness to buy” survey based on a Google translation. It has three questions: Would you buy it?, do you want to receive notice of it by telephone or text message and Guangdong mobile phone number.
It is interesting that this site is running a survey vs. taking orders. Almost feels like China Mobile is running an A/B test between different sites to see what demand may look like.
Source: China Mobile Guangdong website
China Mobile Zhejiang province taking reservations
China Mobile’s Zhejiang province website is taking reservations for the iPhone 5s from December 18 to 31. It also says that due to the uncertainty of the delivery cycle, the arrival time of the phone is not currently clear, the company will notify the customer when it arrives. There was no count displayed vs. what the Beijing site has.
Source: China Mobile Zhejiang website
China Mobile Fujian touting iPads
While I could not find Apple’s iPhone on China Mobile’s Fujian website I did see a page that had text saying iPad mini and pictures of iPads on it. Sorry for the limited screen shot as it was one of many that were constantly changing.
Source: China Mobile Fujian website
China Mobile now has 763 million subscribers
The three Chinese wireless companies released their monthly subscriber count and China Mobile is now up to 763 million total subscribers, up 8% year over year, with 181 million or 24% on 3G for an increase of 120% year over year. While it is growing slower than China Unicom and China Telecom it does have a very large customer base. I am assuming that it could sell 15 million iPhones in the first year and add $3 to Apple’s EPS.
China Unicom has 279 million total subscribers and experienced 18% growth. It has 119 million or 43% of its subscriber base on 3G which grew 62% year over year. China Telecom has 185 million total subscriber and experienced 17% growth. It has 102 million or 55% on 3G which grew 56% year over year.