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Apple's iPhone Appears on China Unicom Website

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In a move which is bound to fuel speculation, China Unicom's Shanghai division has posted details of the Apple iPhone upon its customer website. Although no details are offered about availability, the model being displayed does seem to have had at least one modification for the local market it supports Chinese language inputs, suggesting the specifications have come from an internal document.

China Unicom has been reported to be in talks with Apple over stocking the 3G iPhone after talks with its larger rival China Mobile apparently broke down. China Unicom's chairman Chang Xiaobing has confirmed that the company is in talks with Apple over an option to sell the iPhone handset in the country, but declined to elaborate on the talks, citing confidentiality agreements. 

China Unicom is a distant second to China Mobile in subscriber numbers, but the iPhone is already hugely popular in the country thanks to gray-imports and being the official carrier is expected to be able boost the operator subscriber growth markedly.

While China Mobile had touted as being in talks with Apple, the fact that its 3G network would be on the home-grown TD-SCDMA format has been considered a barrier - as Apple would have to customise the handset hardware for the one operator. One report last year had even suggested the firm would launch a GSM only model for the Chinese market. It was reported that the talks had broken down again last month as China Mobile was unwilling to let Apple retail mobile applications direct to consumers.

On the web: China Unicom Shanghai via iLounge

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