With a population of well over a billion, China’s global importance can’t be understated (or overstated, if you prefer), and indeed China Mobile alone has more than 700 million subscribers; that’s more than double the population of the United States.
As such, CEO Tim Cook is understandably happy that Apple has finally ironed out a deal with the colossal network, and the pair has hinted that there’s more to come.
Incredibly, it’s taken literally years to reach a deal, with the late Steve Jobs having kicked off negotiations in 2008.
Without going into specifics, China Mobile’s head honcho Xi Gouhua describes its new alliance with The World's Most Valuable Brand as “broad”.
Similarly vague, Tim Cook purrs: "We've gotten to know each other…today is a beginning, and I think there are lots more things our companies can do together in the future.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, China Mobile has recorded “several million orders” since opening iPhone pre-orders in December. Shipping begins tomorrow.
It remains to be seen how the Apple/China Mobile deal will affect the global smartphone rankings, as the iPhone is still unashamedly expensive, and contract subsidies are low in China.
Following the iPhone 5c launch, Apple was criticised for not producing an entry-level iPhone for emerging markets, but Cook reiterates: "Apple has always been about making the best products, not the most products…and that's not going to change ever.”