iPhone Maker Seeks Faster Boat to China
“We will enter Asia with the iPhone in 2008…we will one day enter China, we’re not saying when.” Apple COO Tim Cook said that back in March of 2008, and it’s a good thing he declined to offer a more specific timeline. Because here we are, well over a year later, and Apple still hasn’t managed to officially launch the iPhone to China.
But it’s getting closer.
Interfax reports that Apple (AAPL) is near to obtaining the Network Access License from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology that would allow the iPhone to be sold in the country. Once the license is secured, Apple needs only to finalize a distribution deal with China Unicom to make good on Cook’s promise, though that has proven problematic.
Apple’s discussions with China Unicom have reportedly been troubled by the company’s distaste for the idea of China Unicom preinstalling non-Apple software–a media player other than iTunes, for example–on its iconic handset. That said, Apple is apparently confident enough in a positive outcome that it’s begun staffing up for a launch. Last week the company posted an ad to its recruitment Web site looking for someone to oversee “iPhone training” across Asia. The position, which will be based out of Beijing, is responsible for designing training programs for iPhone sales teams and retail channels partners.