Shanghai Daily

The iPhone, Tim Cook and 900 million Chinese wireless users

June 24, 2011: 7:29 AM ET

What do the reports of a pending deal with the world's largest carrier really mean?

Cook (in blue blazer) at China Mobile HQ. Source: M.I.C. Gadget

Brian White, Ticonderoga Securities' chief Apple (AAPL) analyst, has a boilerplate sentence stored on his computer that goes like this:

"We believe the ramp of the mobile Internet in China will be one of the great wonders of the tech world over the next decade and the country has clearly caught "Apple fever" that we believe will only accelerate as the company expands it carrier base to include both China Mobile and China Telecom."

White used his "great wonder of the tech world" sentence twice on Thursday.

Once when he commented on COO Tim Cook's appearance (and a blurry photograph of his back) in the headquarters of China Mobile (CHL), the world's largest mobile phone company with 611 million wireless subscribers. (See here.)

And again, four hours later, when he passed along a report that one of China Mobile's employees had posted a weibo message (a Chinese tweet) indicating that China Mobile will begin selling the iPhone 5 in September -- a report that by Friday had made its way to the Shanghai Daily and the Reuters wire.

White may be right about the significance of these reports over the next decade, but it's too soon for Apple investors to start counting those hundreds of million subscribers.

It's a question of protocols.


  • Boy sells kidney to buy iPad

    Not feeling well now. Regrets taking 20,000 yuan ($3,000) for the organ, according to Chinese press

    This is one of those stories that speaks for itself.

    According to Thursday's Shanghai Daily, a 17-year-old student in Huaishan City, China, gave his right kidney to get his hands on Apple's (AAPL) hottest-selling product.

    "I wanted to buy an iPad 2 but could not afford it," the boy, surnamed Zheng, told the Chinese language Global Times. MORE

    - Jun 2, 2011 1:26 PM ET
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