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China Mobile says no to iPhone deal, so far

Largest mobile operator in China breaks off talks with Apple over the iPhone, with one executive saying Apple wanted too much of the revenue.

The largest mobile operator in China has broken off talks with Apple over the iPhone, with one executive saying Apple wanted to share too much revenue.

From the Financial Times:

Chinese media on Monday quoted Gao Nianshu, general manager of China Mobile's data department, saying that Apple had given the impression it wanted to control the value chain and had pushed for up to 30 percent of revenues generated by locally sold iPhones.

"Of course we could not agree," Mr. Gao told a gathering of local MBA students, according to the Sina Web site. China Mobile also doubted Apple's prowess in communications technology, it quoted him as saying.

China Mobile is a topic for another day; as of November, it serves more than 360 million of the 522 million mobile users in China. The second-largest mobile company here, China Unicom, did not comment on whether it plans to put the iPhone out there.

Meanwhile, unlocked phones are still pouring into the market. I'm seeing more and more of them in the hands of rich folks, Chinese and foreign alike, and there are plenty on sale at electronics markets. Perhaps the person behind the last blip I saw about the iPhone in China was overexcited or full of it, but with the black/gray market so healthy, both China Mobile and Apple will probably not wait long to put a deal together and take their share.