On Friday the 17th, a deal that China Mobile recently made with Apple went into full effect. Apple products such as the iPhone 5S and 5C are newly available to their 760 million subscribers on January 17th from stores in China belonging to both companies, but pre-ordering has already started, since December 25th of last year. Fortunately, Apple was able to get a commitment from the company to build out its 4G network- otherwise, it would have been necessary to make a version of the iPhone compatible with the Chinese homemade 3G service.
China Mobile benefitted from the agreement because, along with the iPhone, China now has 4G service in 16 major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai; this, in addition to the new devices, will attract more customers. However, Apple got the most out of the deal, finally able to get more customers from the largest telecommunications company in China- and in the world. Before, it only had contracts with China Unicom and China Telecom, smaller companies that together only made up 35% of the wireless subscriber base in China. Also, cheaper smartphones rivals such as Samsung have caused a drop in demand for Apple products, so the new availability that comes with the deal (along with the 4G) is likely to begin reversing that. It looks like China, too, is catching the Apple bug.