Apple Nearing Deal With China Unicom?

Fortune summarizes numerous reports on the ongoing negotiations between Apple and China Unicom to bring the iPhone to one of the largest cell phone markets in the world. Both Reuters and AFP report information from a China Unicom spokesperson that the companies are still in negotiations, while Shanghai Security News says they have already reached a conclusion and a deal has already been made.

Chinese blog Tech.QQ cited “informed sources” that the deal struck is to launch the iPhone by the end of September this year, with the following conditions:

  • The Apple and China Unicom deal will be a 3-year exclusive.
  • The iPhone will be customized for the China market (e.g. Chinese language and preloaded with “for China” apps).
  • China Unicom will pay Apple 3,000 CNY ($439 USD) per unit.
  • China Unicom will subsidize iPhone by pricing the iPhone below the 3,000 CNY paid to Apple. This would take the official iPhone price below the grey-market price for smuggled iPhones.
  • China Unicom has promised to sell a minimum 1 million units per year with significantly higher sales targets.
  • The iPhone for China will make use of Apple’s China App Store.

iPhoneAsia’s Dan Butterfield noted that this is still very much a rumor, and should be taken as such.

[via Fortune]

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