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China Unicom Confirms Apple Talks, But Denies Deal
Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 1:47 PM - by Bryan Chaffin
China Unicom has confirmed that the company is in talks with Apple to bring the company's iPhone to the Chinese market, but the company denied it has reached a deal with Apple. The firm specifically denied details of a China Business News report that the company had agreed to buy five million iPhones for some US$1.46 billion.
The New York Times reported Friday that China Unicom spokesman Yi Difei said simply, "The report is not true."
''Talks between us and Apple have been going on for some time, but no agreement has been reached yet,'' he added. ''There are all kinds of possibilities. There is no particular timetable for the talks.''
China Business News reported earlier this week that a deal had been reached with China Unicom, and the firm would buy five million iPhones specially made for the Chinese market (i.e. no WiFi). The report also said that employees were already undergoing training, and would be ready for a September launch of the iPhone in the world's most populous country.
The difference in these two conflicting reports is the source for each: The Times is quoting official China Unicom spokespersons, while China Business News cited spokespersons for local subsidiaries of China Unicom, primarily a sales manager for Guangdong Unicom.
In the meanwhile, Apple China spokespersons told The Times that there is simply "no information" on such a deal, in keeping with the company's long policy of not commenting on unannounced products (or deals).
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