China approves WCDMA and CDMA iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 has overcome its last significant regulatory hurdle for approval in China. Two models of the new iPhone received approval from the China Compulsory Certificate (or 3C), allowing China Unicom and China Telecom to sell the Apple smartphone by the end of 2012, CNET reports…

Although the WCDMA and CDMA versions of the iPhone 5 still need a network access license and a go-ahead from the China Radio Management division, the 3C approval is practically the last major stamp required for a device to be sold in China. The WCDMA version will be used by China Unicom, while the CDMA iPhone 5 is aimed at China Telecom’s 3G network.

Still unclear is whether China Mobile, the nation’s largest carrier, will finally gain the iPhone. After years of speculation, the likelihood that the giant mobile provider would sell the iPhone gained momentum after iFixit found a Qualcomm chip that supports TD-SCDMA, the network technology used by China Mobile. As we recently mentioned, the carrier could increase Apple’s profits by offering more customers than China Unicom and China Telecom combined.

Apple increasingly views China as its largest potential market. While sales in North America have slowed due to a maturing audience and Europe has dealt with economic instability, China, India and elsewhere have become a pressure-relief valve for Apple seeking more customers.

Just as Verizon Wireless became a huge opportunity in the US during 2011, China Mobile could spur Apple’s growth to even loftier heights.

What do you think?

Will eventually the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations become more important than the US and Europe for the iPhone and Apple?