Here’s some big news that should get the Apple bulls excited.
The company will likely be selling the iPhone 5 at China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier with 611 million subscribers, or 68% of the total Chinese market, says Brian White at Ticonderoga Securities in a note this morning.
White bases this on a few signs: A China Mobile employee posted news of the iPhone coming to the carrier on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. The post was then taken down. Tim Cook was spotted at China Mobile’s HQ recently.
In case it’s not obvious, here’s White’s take on why this would be a really big deal for Apple:
We believe the ramp of the mobile Internet in China will be one of the great wonders of the tech world over the next decade and the country has clearly caught “Apple fever” that we believe will only accelerate as the company expands it carrier base to include both China Mobile and China Telecom (CHA, $61.10, NR). As of May, China had 896 million wireless subscribers and 74 million 3G subscribers. For Apple, the numbers speak for themselves. For example, Apple generated approximately $5 billion in revenue from Greater China during H1FY11 or 10% of sales compared to $3 billion for all of FY10. As the largest mobile phone market in the world, we estimate that the high-end mobile phone market in China represents approximately 100-125 million subscribers or a revenue opportunity of ~$70 billion for Apple. However, we believe the time is right for Apple to unveil a “mini iPhone” to expand its customer base in countries such as China and other developing countries around the world.
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