China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL), the world’s largest cellular network provider, began taking preorders for both versions of Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) upcoming iPhone 6 on Tuesday, and has already bagged more than 30,000 orders, according to a new report.
While Apple is only expected to unveil the iPhone 6 on Sept. 9, China Mobile kicked off its preorder program Tuesday, allowing consumers to book their units of both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 versions, China Daily reported, adding that the program, which is currently available only in Beijing, had attracted more than 33,000 orders.
Although it is unclear when the new iPhone 6 will be available to Chinese consumers, a person with knowledge about the matter told China Daily that the device could be released in the country in mid-September.
China Mobile, which has nearly 800 million subscribers, did not reveal its plans to extend the preorder arrangement to the rest of the country or to physical stores. The carrier has also asked its customers if they prefer a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 or a 5.5-inch version of the device, AppleInsider reported.
China Mobile is considered to be one of Apple’s most significant partners as the Cupertino company works to gain a stronger foothold in China. The carrier, which rolled out its 4G LTE technology in February, reported in July that its 4G subscriber-base had grown to more than 20 million.
Mobile Payment Chatter Grows
Following rumors claiming that Apple could sign deals with Visa Inc (NYSE:V), MasterCard Inc (NYSE:MA) and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) to enable mobile payments through the iPhone 6, Bank Innovation reported Tuesday that the iPhone maker was in talks with Nordstrom, a Seattle-based fashion retailer, regarding a potential partnership related to an upcoming mobile-based payments system.
Nordstrom is also claimed to have upgraded its mobile point-of-sale terminals over the last two weeks to work with the “most recent iPhones,” offering a hint that it could be partnering with Apple, Bank Innovation reported, citing anonymous Nordstrom employees.
Apple is widely expected to announce two iPhone 6 versions at a special event scheduled for Sept. 9. Various rumors and leaked components claimed to be of the new iPhone have also indicated that the next-generation iPhone could feature a near-field communications, or NFC, module to support mobile payments.