We reported Apple COO Tim Cook’s recent visit to China Mobile, which may suggests the mobile device vendor is in talks with China Mobile about potential iPhone cooperation. At present China Unicom is the de facto exclusive iPhone operator in China.
And there it is. According to people familiar with the matter, Tim Cook also visited China Unicom during his secret China trip to talk about iPhone joint force issues as well as introduction of 3G iPad 2 into China’s market. It seems to many that Apple’s unusual move signals that iPhone may have 2 partners in China.
Usually Apple only selects one exclusive iPhone cooperator for one region, such as AT&T in the States, Softbank in Japan and China Unicom in China. But as Verizon has now become the second iPhone operator in America, it seems Apple wasn’t that stubborn in this matter. We have reasons to believe that Apple might have two iPhone operators in China, which would be China Mobile and China Unicom.
It seems with the phenomenal success of iPhone and iPad in China, Apple values Chinese market even higher. According to 3rd-party data-processing company CNZZ, iPad takes over 98.89% of China’s tablet market share, while all other brands including big-names such as Dell, HP and Samsung share the other 1.11% market share. And Apple’s latest financial report (Q2 2011) shows that revenue from China accounts for 10% of its total revenue. No wonder Apple said that it will strengthen its investment in China. Gartner analyst Ye Lei remarked that “To keep or even surpass its current pace, the largest competitor for Apple is Apple itself.”