Apple is one step away from an iPhone 6 launch in China


Even though China is one of Apple’s most important markets for selling its products, new iPhones and iPads rarely launch early in the country. While Apple gears up to sell and ship the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to customers in dozens of countries around the globe, those in China have to wait. Now, the Chinese media are reporting that Apple lacks one critical license from the government before it can start selling the new iPhones.

Reuters cites a report from the official Xinhua news agency, which says the new iPhones have regulatory approval for domestic frequencies, but Apple has yet to obtain a key network licensing agreement. Reuters found conflicting documents, showing that Apple was approved for that license in July. Some speculate that Apple is having trouble with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China, which tests every new phone on Chinese networks before the devices are allowed to be sold in the country.

Skeptics say it’s not a problem of licensing at all, but rather a marketing stunt by Apple to generate more enthusiasm for the new iPhone 6 models.

Apple hasn’t said what’s holding it back from selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in China. The company did note that it hopes to bring the new iPhones to China as soon as possible. Many analysts say that it its no wonder why Apple is anxious to get its iPhones on the market in China. During the spring and summer of 2013, Apple says its sales in China grew 50 percent from the same period the year before.

Apple has a wide reach in China, a country where its brand is still very popular, in spite of increased competition from Chinese smartphone manufacturers. The company sells its devices on all three major networks, including China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom Hong Kong. The larger screens of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are expected to go over very well with Chinese customers. Analysts say that if Apple can’t get the iPhones into China before the end of 2014, the company’s profits will take a sizable hit.