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There’s been a lot of talk recently about Apple’s upcoming iPhone plans for China. The company is expected to unveil two new handsets next week, the 5S and the 5C, and rumor has it that it just inked a deal with the country’s largest carrier.

So as you can imagine, that makes this next iPhone 5S shell leak rather interesting. Because while we’ve already seen a number of photos and videos of the handset’s rear casing, this particular one has China Compulsory Certificate markings…

CCC marks, much like our FCC marks, are compulsory safety marks for products imported to and sold in China. They indicate a device has undergone testing to ensure that it’s safe to use, and won’t interfere with government and emergency systems.

iphone-5s-3c

But back to the image, which was posted by CtechCN.com (via 9to5Mac) this weekend. The CCC marks on the shell of this alleged iPhone 5S suggest that not only is the handset heading for China, but it may arrive much sooner than we anticipated.

You see, according to Wikipedia, it usually takes between 4 and 8 months to get certified by The China Quality Certification Centre. So if Apple has already gone through that process, then perhaps it’s nearing an approval to sell the 5S in the country.

And a sooner-than-later iPhone launch in China wouldn’t be surprising. Don’t forget, China Telecom has all but confirmed it’s going to be carrying the handset on day 1 this year, as Tim Cook and company begin to realize the importance of the market.

iPhone 5S (graphite, gold, Sonny Dickson 001)

That’s evidenced by a few things. For one, Cook himself has made a number of trips to the country in recent years, and frequently mentions it on earnings calls. But more recently, Apple sent out invites to a special Beijing event set for September 11.

What’s it going to introduce here that it felt wouldn’t fit in its September 10 event? Some think it has something to do with China Mobile, others say the iPhone 5C. I say I wouldn’t be surprised if it talked about both. Get ready China, Apple’s coming.