Apple Stock Rises on Report of China Deal

8:42 AM, Dec 5, 2013   |    comments
Apple Retail Store(photo credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
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Scott Martin and Bill Bishop, USA TODAY

SAN FRANCISCO - Apple's stock saw a boost Thursday morning following reports of an agreement with China Mobile that gives the tech firm's iPhones access to the world's largest mobile phone carrier customer base, according to a report.

In pre-market trades, Apple shares were up around 2%.

The release of iPhones onto China Mobile's network, which boasts over 700 million subscribers, is expected to start later this month, according to the report in The Wall Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the situation.

USA Today could not independently confirm the report. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Apple's deal for entry into the world's largest mobile phone market has been reported in the works for the past few years. CEO Time Cook met with China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua in July for discussions, according to Reuters.

If Cook travels to Beijing for the reported mid-Dec. announcement of this latest deal that may be an indicator of how important both firms consider the agreement.

The iPhone 5C and 5S have been available in China since the U.S. launch, in the Apple stores and through China Unicom and China Telecom, but the iPhone is no longer the "it" phone in China, and China Mobile has plenty of deals for good Android phones with other manufacturers.

Wall Street analysts have been anticipating Apple to strike an arrangement with China Mobile that could boost its sales. Shares of Apple last week saw gains amid raised expectations a deal was near.

Apple's launch of its lower-cost iPhone 5C model was criticized by analysts for its price coming in too high for China's market. While it runs as low as $99 with a contract in the U.S., the model price starts at $649 unlocked, which is how phones are typically purchased in China.

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