Apple and China mobile join forces over iPhone5
The multi-year agreement with China Mobile had been expected but was finally announced on Sunday.
It means the phone will be available to more than 760 million subscribers to China Mobile, a huge boost to the already successful brand. Even before the deal, Apple's iPhone 5S was a dramatic hit in China, comprising 12% of smartphone sales in the country during October, according to market research company Counterpoint.
Some analysts predict up to 20m iPhones could be sold in the first year of the deal.
Xi Guohua, the chairman of China Mobile, said: "Apple's iPhone is very much loved by millions of customers around the world. We know there are many China Mobile customers and potential new customers who are anxiously awaiting the incredible combination of iPhone on China Mobile's leading network. We are delighted that iPhone on China Mobile will support our 4G and 3G networks."
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple said: "Apple has enormous respect for China Mobile and we are excited to begin working together.
"iPhone customers in China are an enthusiastic and rapidly growing group."
China is the world's largest smartphone market, and one of the fastest-growing. Smartphone sales there in the third quarter of 2013 totalled 87.7m, according to data supplied to the Guardian by research company IDC, with sales growth at 52% year-on-year compared to 40% for the rest of the world. Samsung was the biggest seller of smartphones in the third quarter, averaging more than 6m phones per month