Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone 5 went on sale in the United States in late September, adding to the holiday lineup of all new Macs and iPods. Now, AAPL is also planning to bring the latest iPhone with the taller 4 inch screen, A6 chip, and LTE wireless to China. On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Cupertino based company would be bringing the iPhone 5 to China in late November or early December.
Government officials haven’t offered guidance on when the iPhone 5 might win final approval. But China Telecom Chairman Wang Xiaochu said Friday in a brief interview on the sidelines of the Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress in Beijing that the phone should be by early December if not sooner.
China Unicom Chairman Chang Xiaobing was less certain. “We hope to offer it this year, but what I say doesn’t matter,” he said on the sidelines of the congress, adding that his company was waiting for the government to grant the remaining licenses for the phone to be released in China.
Apple is already looking at a breakthrough holiday quarter and with the iPhone 5 selling in other countries, the company will experience even higher sales. According to the WSJ report, 16% of Apple’s revenue came from China last quarter, which equates to $5.7 billion. Apple’s Foxconn factory has been experiencing delays in production of the iPhone 5, and shortages of the device in places where it is already on sale and is causing even more demand for the product.
Apple has already mentioned that they will roll out the iPhone 5 to 100 more countries after the US and with the rapid release around the world, and will do so in about 2 months after the initial US release. Despite Apple not officially selling the iPhone in China, there are many in use across the country, brought in by resellers who have purchased them in other countries, mostly the United States.
As sales begin and gradually increase in China, the number of units being purchased for resale in the United States will stop. As a result, the production will finally catch up to the demand. China is a major growth opportunity for Apple, as CEO Tim Cook has mentioned in the past, and it will continue to be as demand for the company’s products grow more and more each year.