According to comments made by China Telecom’s chairman Wang Xiaochu to The Wall Street Journal, the iPhone 5 is expected to be available in China by late November or early December. The device is currently awaiting regulatory approval from the Chinese government.
While Xiaochu remains confident of an early December release, China Unicom’s chairman Chang Xiaobing notes that the date will be dictated by government officials, depending on when they grant the remaining licenses for the phone to be sold in China.
China has grown to become a significant part of Apple’s revenues (16 percent, as of last quarter), as can be seen by Apple’s recent focus on adding features specific to China to both, iOS and Mac. WSJ’s report notes that despite Apple’s enthusiasm about China, the company has been losing market share to Android phones, which capitalise on the delayed launches of Apple products to entice buyers.
During the iPhone 5 event, Apple noted that the iPhone 5’s rollout will be the fastest ever, with the device being available in a 100 countries by the end of the year. The most recent rollout was on November 2nd, when Apple released the iPhone 5 in India, Greece, Croatia, Thailand and a few other countries.