Recent weeks have seen the China Mobile website and even some retail locations displaying the iPhone, all for nought. Now, after years of on again, off again rumors and false starts, the China Mobile iPhone has been confirmed. Apple has finally landed the world’s largest wireless carrier and just in time for Chinese New Year.

The best Christmas present ever for Apple?

China Mobile and Apple have jointly announced that China Mobile will begin selling the iPhone on January 17, just ahead of the all-important Chinese New Year holiday.

“China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world’s largest network,” said Tim Cook, CEO, Apple. “iPhone customers in China are an enthusiastic and rapidly growing group, and we can’t think of a better way to welcome in the Chinese New Year than getting an iPhone into the hands of every China Mobile customer who wants one.”

All very well and nice, but this deal only matters if it delivers the dinero.

China Mobile iPhone: Measuring Success

That said, analyst Katy Huberty believes that China Mobile could sell 279 million smartphones in 2014 and 23 million of those might be iPhones. Other analysts estimate that number in the 12 to 39 million unit range.

This could be huge for both Apple and China Mobile as there’s a lot potential profit on the table.

“We expect a strong marketing push to follow the official announcement, and that is what is critical,” said Wedge Partners Brian Blair. “It’s Apple’s job to turn the Chinese consumer away from entrenched brands, like Samsung.”

And, in Japan and America, where Apple has nailed down all of the top carriers, the iPhone has risen to the top of the sales charts. Tim Cook and his Cupertino crew have a proven record of delivering the numbers, especially the most important figure of all — profit for itself and carriers alike.

So, the China Mobile iPhone is finally reak. It’s going to be more than interesting watching it play out…

What’s your take?

See also: All Things D

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here