An article on 9to5Mac this morning reports that China Unicom is dropping the 16/32GB iPhone 4 in preparation for the 8GB iPhone 4, prior to offering the iPhone 4S to its customers.

State-owned China Unicom, the world’s third-largest carrier and Apple’s sole iPhone partner in the country, has dropped both the 16GB and 32GB iPhone 4 model and will be introducing the 8GB iPhone 4 later this month. The move comes in anticipation of the iPhone 4S launch on the China Unicom network, due by the year’s end. iPhone 4S is currently pending regulatory approval in the country. The move would indicate that China Unicom will focus on the new iPhone 4S and carry the 8GB iPhone 4 as an inexpensive entry-level handset.

China is a huge market for Apple and there is no doubt this deal will increase the company’s bottomline. China Unicom is the country’s number 2 carrier. China Mobile, the country’s leader, has yet to reach an agreement with Apple.