Apple is geared to see huge profits next year with analysts predicting the company will sell somewhere between five and seven million iPhones in China in 2010 as a result of its deal with the country's second-largest mobile carrier.
The Chinese market will account for about 15 to 20 percent of Apple's worldwide iPhone sales next year, said Brian Marshall, an analyst with Broadpoint AmTech. The upside for Apple is great.
China Unicom, the country's No. 2 carrier, formally announced a three-year agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone, confirming rumors and reports that the two were nearing a deal.
China Unicom has about 140 million subscribers, less than a third of the 460 million subscribers of China Mobile, the nation's largest mobile provider, said Marshall.
What's interesting about China Unicom is that only about half of its subscribers are pre-paid customers, which is not the market that Apple is going after, said Marshall. But about 80 percent of China Mobile's customers are pre-paid.
That means China will account for 15-20% of all iPhone sales next year, said Marshall, rounding up the actual numbers of 13.5-18.9% generated by his math.
Meanwhile, Apple's competitor - the Palm Pre - is in talks with China Telecom, the country's No. 3 mobile carrier by subscriber count.