China Unicom Denies Apple iPhone Sale
Mobile operator China Unicom denies rumors of a deal to buy 5 million iPhones from Apple. China Unicom says it is in talks with Apple and isn't ruling out future deals to purchase Apple smartphones.Putting an end to rumors that Apple was on the cusp of selling millions of its popular iPhone smartphones to Chinese mobile operator China Unicom, the AP reports a company spokesperson said while China Unicom and Apple were indeed in talks, reports of a deal that would see 5 million iPhones shipped to China are premature. "Talks between us and Apple have been going on for some time, but no agreement has been reached yet," Unicom spokesperson Yi Difei told the AP. "There are all kinds of possibilities. There is no particular timetable for the talks." The news service also reported that an Apple spokesperson in China, Tiffany Yang, said she had no knowledge of a deal with China Unicom. The company, the world's third-largest mobile provider, claimed 125 million GSM subscribers and 43 million CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) subscribers in April 2008. The rumors of an iPhone sale broke after a China Business News report claiming inside sources at China Unicom's Guangdong subsidiary said Unicom had purchased 5 million handsets for 10 billion yuan, or $1.5 billion.
As reported in BusinessWeek, Zhou Youmeng, deputy general manager of Guangdong Unicom, told the Chinese newspaper that units might be on the market as soon as September. The report also included an interview with Yu Zhaonan, manager of Guangdong Unicom's consumer customers department, giving the prices Unicom had paid for the iPhone, claiming a per-unit sales price from Apple of 2,000 yuan ($292.60).