China Unicom chairman Cheng Xiaobing said the company is in talks with Apple to bring the iPhone to China, Reuters reported. Unicom’s main competitor, China Mobile, was in talks with Apple but has not yet reached an agreement. China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou said that the company would continue talking to Apple but would not comment further on the discussions. Analysts said the possible Apple deal may not necessarily be an earnings catalyst for China Unicom given that the Apple brand is not particularly strong in China and there are various local copies of the product available in the market which do not require users to sign long-term contracts. Many people in China also use geniune iPhones that have been brought in through private channels. The iPhones that China Unicom would sell are likely to be highly subsidized so the potential boost to China Unicom’s earnings would be limited.
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