Apple Inc.-China Mobile Deal Official; CEO Tim Cook Sends Message to Employees with 'Big Plans' in 2014

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By Reissa Su | December 23, 2013 6:27 PM EST

Apple Inc has officially announced a deal with China Mobile on Dec. 22 which signaled the end of a 6-year negotiation. Apple's bestselling iPhones will be available on the world's largest mobile carrier on Jan. 17, 2014.

The Apple Inc.-China Mobile deal will enable both companies to attract more customers and gain a bigger share in a market with 1.2 billion subscribers. China Mobile's retail stores will begin selling the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S on Jan. 17 as indicated in the company's official statement. No financial terms were disclosed. Apple Inc's retail stores in China will also carry China Mobile-compatible phones under the multiple-year deal.

The closing of the China Mobile deal is Apple Inc's key to gain entry to the largest handset market in the world where rival Samsung has long dominated by selling Android phones. The deal will also benefit China Mobile to attract high-end subscribers to its new 4G network. Reports have shown that the Chinese telecoms company is experiencing its first declining profit in more than ten years.

The news spurred China Mobile shares to rise by 1.7 per cent, the biggest gain in five weeks, before 1.1 per cent higher as of 10:28 am Hong Kong time.

China Mobile subscribers who want an iPhone will need to pre-register beginning Dec. 25. According to the statement, the pricing and availability of the iPhones will be announced at a later date.

Negotiation delays

Apple Inc's deal with China Mobile was the most anticipated agreement by investors as the world's biggest mobile carrier was expected to make a big announcement on December 18. However, the day had passed without a single word from both parties, leaving investors disappointed. When the Apple-China Mobile deal didn't materialise on the expected date, Apple Inc's shares went down 0.76 per cent or at $550.77 by the end of December 18.

China Mobile is the only major telecommunications company that doesn't offer iPhones. Its rivals, China Unicorn and China Telecom, have already offered Apple's iPhones to their subscribers. Although there are existing iPhone owners using China Mobile, they are limited to a 2G network.

Despite the delays in the Apple-China Mobile deal, Apple analysts have remained optimistic. They know what it means for Apple Inc to close the China Mobile deal. The Cupertino-based tech giant will have access to China Mobile's 759 million customers if the deal pushes through, which means more sales and greater market share.

Apple CEO hints of big plans in 2014

Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook has written a letter and sent it to all employees to thank them for their hard work in the past year.

He also motivated employees to look forward to "big plans" in 2014 as Apple is expected to revamp its product line. Mr Cook told Apple employees that the company has shown its "breadth and depth of innovation" in the past year and extended its lead in the smartphone market with the success of the iPhone 5S. 2013 also marked the year the App Store has reached 50 billion downloads which Mr Cook said was a milestone quickly reached by the company.

He also mentioned Apple's stand in equality and diversity with its support for the workplace protection against discrimination. Mr Cook said the company will have a "lot to look forward to in 2014." He considered himself "the luckiest person in the world" to be working in Apple with all of the company staff. 

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