China mobiles surge on iPhone talks

Updated: 2007-11-15 11:53

Hong Kong - Shares of China Unicom and China Mobile, the mainland's two biggest mobile service companies, surged in Hong Kong Wednesday on news that the latter was in talks with Apple to bring the iPhone to China.

China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou told reporters Tuesday about the discussions with Apple, but said the two companies had not yet reached an agreement.

Apple launched the iPhone -- a combination phone, music player and Web browser -- in the US earlier this year and has said it plans to launch the device in Asia in 2008. However, it hasn't disclosed any details on which operators in the region it might work with.

China Mobile Ltd. shot up 9.23 percent to close at HK$140.80 ($18.08), while China Unicom Ltd. rose 6.19 percent to HK$15.44 ($1.98).

Analysts said it was likely Cupertino, California-based Apple Inc. might launch the iPhone with only one exclusive partner in each country in Asia, and that it might take a while to iron out details about revenue sharing.

China Mobile is China's biggest mobile services operator with 349.6 million subscribers at the end of September. China Unicom had 156 million users at the end of September.

The iPhone went on sale in Europe earlier this month.

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