In a rare TV interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook described the launch of the iPhone on China Mobile this week as a ‘watershed day’ for the company. In the interview with CNBC, Cook sat down with China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua to talk about the specifics of the deal.
Tim Cook gushes about the importance of the deal and how ‘honored’ he is to be doing business with China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier:
It’s a watershed day for Apple. It’s a huge announcement and I’m so honored to be doing business with Chairman Xi and China Mobile. They have the largest network, we’re incredibly impressed with them, we have deep respect for them, and have had from the very first discussion that we’ve had together
Neither Tim Cook now Xi Guohua would state sales expectations from this deal, but the China Mobile Chairman did reveal that the carrier had received 1.2 million pre-orders for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c as of Monday. It was reported yesterday that 1.4 million iPhone 5s units were being shipped to China ahead of this Friday’s launch, with no word on iPhone 5c numbers.
The deal is likely to be extremely profitable for both parties. China Unicom and China Telecom both had the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c since they launched last September, both seeing high demand. But China Mobile dwarfs both carriers and allows Apple to finally sell its devices on the world’s largest wireless network.