The world’s largest wireless carrier, China Mobile, is secretly taking pre-orders for the iPhone, Fortune’s Philip Elmer DeWitt reports.
DeWitt has a screengrab of an iPhone pre-order site from a China Mobile subsidiary which is in Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai. The site has since been taking down.
DeWitt says Suzhou is a good place for an iPhone launch because it has 5 million people, and it’s one of the richest cities in China. Therefore its people will be able to afford iPhones.
China Mobile is very important for Apple’s iPhone business. It has ~700 million subscribers. Selling iPhones to that new customer base should result in a nice pop in iPhone sales.
This is a big part of the reason Apple’s stock is at its highest point for the year, and has been rising since bottoming out in June. The iPhone business looked like it was in trouble earlier this year. Today, things look much better.