The New York Times about a week ago published an article portraying the recent launch of the iPhone on China Mobile as something of a disappointment. What made the Times article so utterly bizarre is that it wholly ignored encouraging facts and instead based its premise on the observation that the customer turnout at a lone Apple store in China was "muted."
While we'll have to wait a full quarter to see just how well the iPhone does on the world's largest carrier, Tim Cook and Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer divulged some information during Monday's earnings conference call suggesting that the iPhone on China Mobile is actually doing quite well.
When asked about demand trends for the iPhone on China Mobile, Cook answered:
I would add, as a further update, we've been selling with China Mobile now for about a week, and last week was the best week for activations we've ever had in China. So it's been an incredible start, and at this moment, we're just selling in 16 cities with China Mobile, and as Peter alluded to, this number is projected to be over 300 cities by the end of this year. And so we've got quite the ramp in front of us, and we're incredibly excited.
With more than 760 million subscribers, it's hard to see Apple's recent deal with China Mobile as anything but a tremendous opportunity. Not only does the deal grow Apple's potential subscriber pool by a significant factor, but also China Mobile's extensive distribution network of more than 3,000 outlets will make the iPhone available in a number of previously unsupported areas.