Apple schedules media event for September 11 in China

The holding of a standalone event in China suggests that Apple is increasing its focus on the country, considered a key market for the iPhone maker.

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Media invitation to a September 11 event in China. Sina Tech

Hours after inviting the media to an event to be held September 10 at Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, the company has sent out similar invitations to a media event to be held the next day in China.

Chinese media outlets, including Sina Tech (English translation), reported receiving the invitations on Wednesday to an Apple event at Beijing's World Trade Center on September 11. The invitations to the Beijing event are identical to those sent out for the US event, except they are printed in Chinese.

Thought to be the first time the iPhone maker has scheduled a standalone event in China, the move suggests that Apple is increasing its focus on the country. It also seems to lend credence to reports that Apple is getting ready to launch a much-rumored iPhone 5C -- said to be a budget-friendly version of the smartphone made of plastic that might have greater appeal in the Chinese market.

The company is also said to be prepping a high-end model. A series of leaks in the run-up to next week's event have shown colors of both models, though not a fully functioning device.

While China is considered a key market for Apple, the company's growth in the country has been hobbled by its inability to strike a deal with China Mobile, the biggest carrier in the largest smartphone market in the world with 740 million subscribers. Although Apple CEO Tim Cook has visited China twice this year, meeting with China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua as recently as July, no deal has yet been announced.

UBS forecast last month that Apple could sell 17 million iPhones through China Mobile next year, with the bulk of those expected to be the 5C.

[Via The Next Web]