Shanghai, China (4E) – China Mobile and Apple announced on Sunday that they have struck a deal that will bring the iPhone to customers of the Chinese carrier starting Jan. 17.
The deal with China Mobile could provide a big boost to Apple in the enormous Chinese market, according to analysts, increasing its global sales. China Mobile is considered the world’s biggest mobile company, with subscribers of up to 760 million.
Both China Mobile and Apple will start offering the iPhones in their stores beginning Jan. 17. Buyers can also pre-register as of Dec. 25, though the companies did not offer details for pricing.
While Apple’s smartphones enjoy a major market share in the U.S. and Europe, the company has struggled to replicate that success in China, where phones that use Google’s Android operating system are the dominant players, partly because of the price.
Several smartphone brands like Huawei, Coolpad and ZTE sell Android phones for less than $100 in China, while Apple’s iPhone 5C has a price tag of $739, and the 5S at $871. Apple said that it would disclose on a later date the pricing of the iPhones for China Mobile customers.
Apple could sell as many as 39 million iPhones in China in 2014, according to Dow Jones citing analyst reports. That figure compares with nearly 34 million iPhones that the company sold worldwide in the latest quarter.