It’s official. After months of speculation, China Unicom said it has reached a multi-year deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in China.
China represents the biggest market yet for Apple, whose iPhone is sold in more than 80 countries. The initial launch is expected to be in the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing information was not released.
According to the Associated Press, Unicom Chairman and CEO Chang Xiaobin said the companies will not share revenues. Instead, Unicom will buy the phones in batches and subsidize them.
China Unicom is the second largest Chinese operator. In a research report, UBS Equity Research analyst Maynard Um noted that the iPhones will not include Wi-Fi due to Chinese government regulation.
In Apple’s most recent earnings conference call, Apple COO Tim Cook declined to provide an update on Apple’s work in China, except to say it continued to be a priority project and the company hoped to be there “within a year.”