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China Mobile chairman: Talks with Apple 'still ongoing'

The companies are trying to figure out what it'll take to get the iPhone in front of China Mobile's 740 million customers.

CBS Interactive

The crown jewel in Apple's mobile strategy -- China Mobile -- is still not quite within reach.

China Mobile's "discussions with Apple are still ongoing," said Chairman Xi Guohua at a press conference in China on Thursday. Bloomberg, which attended the event and reported on his comments, said Xi confirmed the talks centered on "commercial details and technology issues."

Technology issues could prove to be the biggest hurdle for Apple. China Mobile currently runs a TD-SCDMA network, a technology that Apple's iPhone does not support. However, the carrier is quickly moving to TD-LTE, which would work just fine with Apple's iPhone.

China Mobile presents a huge opportunity for Apple, which has faced some trouble gaining traction in the Chinese market. China Mobile currently has more than 740 million wireless customers, and none of them are able to buy an iPhone. If Apple can bring its handset to the network, its sales could rise considerably.

Before that happens, though, the companies need to reach a deal. And Xi made no prediction on when, or if, that might happen.