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Most China Mobile 4G users bought iPhone, chairman says

The company has just 1.3 million 4G customers right now, but expects that figure to jump to 50 million by the end of the year.


This might be a good year for Apple in China.

China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua on Thursday said that "most" of his company's 1.3 million 4G customers have bought the iPhone -- an important success rate for Apple, considering the carrier only started selling the company's handset in January. And despite that figure appearing to be small, China Mobile reported that it expects its total number of 4G subscribers to jump to 50 million by year's end. If Apple can keep its lead, that could mean a boatload of iPhone sales in China.

China Mobile has long been the crown jewel in any device maker's plans. The company has 776 million mobile subscribers, making it the largest carrier in the world. China Mobile is aggressively expanding its 4G LTE presence in China, which was reportedly a prerequisite for Apple before it signed a deal with the company. That 4G deal appears to be paying off.

Still, it wasn't all good news for China Mobile on Thursday. The company reported its first profit drop in 14 years, blaming it on increased capital investment in 4G networks. Subsidies paid to companies like Apple were also to blame for the drop.

(Via Reuters)