The deal would significantly open up the Chinese mobile market to Apple, as China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile carrier – with 750m subscribers.
If a deal goes through, Apple would have access to a customer base three times bigger than the entire US mobile population.
Apple see the market as crucial to their future plans as they have so far experienced slow revenue growth in the region.
They are ranked 7th in China’s smartphone market, with a market share of 5%.
The Chinese market is more budget-conscious, with many companies profiting from selling low-cost smartphones.
Many thought Apple’s 5c would be a much cheaper phone, designed to compete in the more budget-conscious markets of China and Russia.
So there was surprise upon release at its high price-tag — an iPhone 5s priced at about $860, an iPhone 5c at $730.
Their relatively poor sales heightened the need to push through the China Mobile deal, which they have been seeking since 2007 – it being the only carrier in China that doesn’t sell the iPhone.
China Mobile spokesperson Rainie Lei told AFP: “Talks between China Mobile and Apple on cooperation are still going on and we currently do not have anything to announce.”
The Washington Post reports that although a deal has not yet been reached, it is expected to be announced in the next two weeks.
Financial analysts estimate it could mean 10-17m more iPhones sold in the first year, which would generate nearly $9bn revenue.
Earlier in the week, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued 4G licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom in another widely expected move.