China Unicom in talks to extend Apple partnership

It looks like folks who were worried about Apple’s progress in China can rest easy. Thanks to “better than expected results,” China Unicom is in talks with Apple to extend its current 3 year partnership.

The Chinese telco is the tenth largest carrier in the world, and was Apple’s first iPhone partner in mainland China back in 2009. And it appears that the relationship has been equally good for both parties…

TheNextWeb reports:

“China Unicom President Lu Yimin revealed that talks are ongoing, with a new deal expected to close soon as both sides are “extremely satisfied” with the success of their work together, Marbridge Consulting reports. Indeed, the operator heralded its partnership with Apple in March, saying it had “generated better-than-expected results.”

Why does any of this matter? With just an estimated 12% of the smartphone market in China, the country is by far Apple’s biggest opportunity for growth. And this is definitely a good sign that the company is on the right track.

However, China Mobile, the country’s largest carrier, still eludes Apple. A T-Mobile—like technology conflict is said to be standing in the way of a deal that would give Apple access to more than 650 million mobile subscribers. But analysts are hoping this gets resolved by the time Apple unveils its new iPhone this fall.

[Marbridge Consulting]