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Apple COO spotted at China Mobile HQ, spurring rumors of an iPhone deal

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, was reportedly spotted Wednesday at the headquarters of China Mobile, the largest wireless carrier in the world.

Cook was apparently spotted by a Chinese reporter for the newspaper First Financial Daily. And according to MIC Gadget, it was said that Cook was "probably" talking with executives about a deal for the iPhone.

Cook was said to have been accompanied by 7 or 8 people, and both Chinese and American flags were said to be on display in the building's lobby.

With over 600 million active subscribers, China Mobile would represent the biggest partnership for Apple. Rumors of a deal with China Mobile have persisted for years, but for now the iPhone remains solely on the much smaller network of China Unicom, which had 179.34 million customers as of May.

Even though the iPhone is not officially available on China Mobile's network, one estimate this year said that 4 million iPhone users are on the massive network.

China Mobile currently uses home-grown 3G data technology that is incompatible with the existing GSM and CDMA iPhone models. Because the current iPhone models are not compatible with China Mobile's 3G network, and must run at much slower 2G speeds.

This photo is claimed to show Apple COO Tim Cook at the China Mobile headquarters.

In May, China Mobile executives revealed they had reached an agreement with Apple to eventually support the carrier's fourth-generation TD-LTE data network with a future iPhone. No timeframe for the launch of such a device was given.

But despite a great deal of talk on the part of China Mobile executives, no word of a deal with Apple has come out, and the iPhone remains only officially available to China Unicom customers.
post #2 of 23
Another HUGE upside for Apple. Wow, the rumors are going nuts: iTV, significant patent wins (or settlements), now this.....
post #3 of 23
The patent win isn't a rumor, it's news. Same with the Apple-Nokia settlement. How those wins are being interpreted by the media is a different matter.

The iTV thing is pure speculation. I'd say 95-98% of all Apple rumors end up being false so if you read about something related to Apple that didn't emanate from Apple.com, it probably won't happen.

Cook at China Mobile is less of a rumor with the photograph (assuming it's him). There's a legitimate, specific reason why he is in that building, and it's not to say "hi."
post #4 of 23
Whatever gets the stock moving. The market is a bottomless pit right now thanks to Bernanke.

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post #5 of 23
The Greek debt crisis has played a bigger factor in the world market downturn than Bernanke.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

The Greek debt crisis has played a bigger factor in the world market downturn than Bernanke.

Both don't help, and the deliberate devaluation of the dollar is unnecessary and harmful.

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post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Both don't help, and the deliberate devaluation of the dollar is unnecessary and harmful.

'Deliberate devaluation'?!

The dollar is in far better shape now than its worst point a few years ago. For example, it troughed at about $1.60/ in July 2008, almost exactly three years ago. It is $1.44/ now, i.e., stronger.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

The patent win isn't a rumor, it's news. Same with the Apple-Nokia settlement. How those wins are being interpreted by the media is a different matter.

The iTV thing is pure speculation. I'd say 95-98% of all Apple rumors end up being false so if you read about something related to Apple that didn't emanate from Apple.com, it probably won't happen.

Cook at China Mobile is less of a rumor with the photograph (assuming it's him). There's a legitimate, specific reason why he is in that building, and it's not to say "hi."

Fair point about the patent win/settlements not being a 'rumor.'

On iTV, I happen to think it's a virtually certain space for Apple to aim for and succeed in. The only question is when.
post #9 of 23
I'm very skeptical of this iTV thing, especially when the television set market has very thin margins.

Apple would have to put something extremely compelling to make consumers want to pony up the extra dough for what would be a premium-priced product.

Most likely it would be content, and the glaring thing that's missing from Apple TV is live sports. That's a tough nut to crack, all the major sport leagues have contracts full of exclusivity clauses locking them to networks and/or cable operators.
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

With over 600 million active subscribers...



Even 10% of that would be amazing.
post #11 of 23
For 600M potential customers, I would customize the shit out of the iPhone to make it compatible with China Mobile's network. Why Apple is hesitant to that is beyond me. If that really is Cook, finally they realized it's hard to ignore that many subscribers in one carrier.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post



Even 10% of that would be amazing.

10% of 600 Million subscribers wouldn't be amazing, it'd be a miracle!
Just how many of those subscribers do you thing have the cash/desire for an iPhone and contract? How many iPhone has Apple sold with China Unicom's 180 Million subscribers? (@ 5%.)

For the time being the 4 million who are already using an iPhone at China Mobile is petty amazing. With a sanctioned iPhone maybe another 10 or 20 million max, which is nothing to sneeze at, but get real. They will not be selling 60 million iPhones anytime soon.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

10% of 600 Million subscribers wouldn't be amazing, it'd be a miracle!
Just how many of those subscribers do you thing have the cash/desire for an iPhone and contract? How many iPhone has Apple sold with China Unicom's 180 Million subscribers? (@ 5%.)

For the time being the 4 million who are already using an iPhone at China Mobile is petty amazing. With a sanctioned iPhone maybe another 10 or 20 million max, which is nothing to sneeze at, but get real. They will not be selling 60 million iPhones anytime soon.

By your own calculation in your first paragraph you suggest it's something like 30 million, then you say that it's 20 million "max." Even if the numbers added up, it's really just a wild guess on your part.

The truth is we don't know how many of the 600 million subscribers would buy an iPhone and probably can't even make an educated guess at this point.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

By your own calculation in your first paragraph you suggest it's something like 30 million, then you say that it's 20 million "max." Even if the numbers added up, it's really just a wild guess on your part.

The truth is we don't know how many of the 600 million subscribers would buy an iPhone and probably can't even make an educated guess at this point.

You are quite correct. I'd add that I've learned not to assume the 'Chinese can't afford anything' (the mantra that was preached here by many a while back I recall). I'd not be surprised to see far more that 10% of those customers eventually to be using an iPhone of one type or another. Apple could sell a cheaper version as well as a high end - latest and greatest version.
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

On iTV, I happen to think it's a virtually certain space for Apple to aim for and succeed in. The only question is when.

I agree...It certainly fits the Apple pattern of the last few major product releases all of which were mature product areas when Apple entered to reinvent the category..iPod/MP3's, SmartPhones/iPhones, tablets/iPad2 and one could include Netbooks/11" MBA and maybe even iCloud, too!

I think Apple could "reinvent" TV's the way they did with iPhones. An Apple TV just screams to be part of the Apple ecosystem.

Best
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

You are quite correct. I'd add that I've learned not to assume the 'Chinese can't afford anything' (the mantra that was preached here by many a while back I recall). I'd not be surprised to see far more that 10% of those customers eventually to be using an iPhone of one type or another. Apple could sell a cheaper version as well as a high end - latest and greatest version.

I too remember the same mantra, Digitalclips!

Although still half of all Chinese live in poverty, that means half don't. That's 650 million people above the poverty level. That's a huge market for Apple. And it's still a growing market too.

Best
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

You are quite correct. I'd add that I've learned not to assume the 'Chinese can't afford anything' (the mantra that was preached here by many a while back I recall). I'd not be surprised to see far more that 10% of those customers eventually to be using an iPhone of one type or another. Apple could sell a cheaper version as well as a high end - latest and greatest version.

Actually I just saw an article stating that China Unicom now has 10% of their customers on 3G (China mobile less than 5%. There are only 35 Million 3G customers in the whole country right now (their fastest service.) China Unicom got those numbers by offering a very cheap data plans. It's not a sustainable plan. Even at only $10/month they can only have about 10 million iPhone users (after 2 years.) China Mobile cannot get as high a percentage. In any case, Getting 5% of all of China Unicom's whole subscriber base is better than what they do in the US (where iPhone gets 5% of all smart phones.)
Why do you think the Chinese will purchase the iphone to a greater extent than Americans or Europeans who have many times their disposable income?
Westerners tend to forget that most people in China don't live at the Beijing Hilton. Most Chinese live in the poor suburbs and out in the sticks. To understand the state of most Chinese visualize the workers that assemble the iPhone, not the ones who use one.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

In any case, Getting 5% of all of China Unicom's whole subscriber base is better than what they do in the US (where iPhone gets 5% of all smart phones.)

You are way off base here. iPhone was 26% of the US smartphone segment last quarter, and around the same in the EU. iPhone is at around 8% of all handsets globally. China Unicom is around 16% of the Chinese Mobile maket, so 5% of that would be .8% of the total chinese market - or around one tenth of their market penetration in the west.

http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events...r_Market_Share
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

Why do you think the Chinese will purchase the iphone to a greater extent than Americans or Europeans who have many times their disposable income?

Because Chinese consumers have many times less the amount of debt? And are also obsessed with status objects and showing them off?

How many Americans will spend a month's worth of their salary on a mobile phone? Probably not that many. But here in China, this behaviour is common.

Also consider that salaries in professional fields here have been increasing at a greater rate than in the US for the last 5 years (10-25% average), and this trend has no signs of stopping. These are the customers that Apple is targeting.

Just look at Audi and BMW - they both now sell more cars in China than in the US (with Audi selling about twice as many cars in China vs. the US).
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

You are way off base here. iPhone was 26% of the US smartphone segment last quarter, and around the same in the EU. iPhone is at around 8% of all handsets globally. China Unicom is around 16% of the Chinese Mobile maket, so 5% of that would be .8% of the total chinese market - or around one tenth of their market penetration in the west.

http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events...r_Market_Share

Yeah, sorry. I meant to say cell phone not smart phone. My point stands though. People get sucked in by the large population of China and the concentration of wealth they see when they visit (not too many people visit the poorer areas of China.) They tend to extrapolate this incorrectly. It's a skewed view, just as people all over the world have a skewed view of the US. People do this everywhere but it's especially easy to do with China and especially WRT economics, growth, and wealth.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIA View Post

Because Chinese consumers have many times less the amount of debt? And are also obsessed with status objects and showing them off?

Not surprising. Credit has been available in China only relatively recently. The society is traditionally frugal which has been a wise strategy in the face of low and intermittent earning power for individuals. BTW China is on the cusp of a precipitous housing bubble. Only the greatest efforts of the totalitarian government have been able to prevent the kind of crashes seen in the west. But their efforts only delay the inevitable.

[QUOTE=AIA;1887527How many Americans will spend a month's worth of their salary on a mobile phone? Probably not that many. But here in China, this behaviour is common.[/QUOTE]
Doesn't sound sustainable, does it? On the other hand the monthly fees are pretty low.

[QUOTE=AIA;1887527Also consider that salaries in professional fields here have been increasing at a greater rate than in the US for the last 5 years (10-25% average), and this trend has no signs of stopping. These are the customers that Apple is targeting.[/QUOTE]
And its about time. But growth rates are deceiving. A 25% increase from very little is not necessarily very much.

[QUOTE=AIA;1887527Just look at Audi and BMW - they both now sell more cars in China than in the US (with Audi selling about twice as many cars in China vs. the US).[/QUOTE]
I'd like to see those figures.
The most recent ones I can find for BMW (one year old) show US sales at more than double China's. And I'll bet BMW sales in "China" includes Taiwan and Hong Kong, which have been buying BMWs for over 40 years (should we add in Mexico and Canada sales to the "US" sales?

[I guess I don' know how to do multiple quotes, but you get the idea]
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

China is on the cusp of a precipitous housing bubble

Most definitely. The value of the condo I live in has tripled in the past five years. This bubble has to burst sometime.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TokyoJimu View Post

Most definitely. The value of the condo I live in has tripled in the past five years. This bubble has to burst sometime.

It could get pretty ugly. It will be impossible for China to avoid the bubble effects as it has affected every nation. It is my impression that it would just take one well-timed bubble bursting to wreck their economic miracle.

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GOA

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