Senior officials from Apple Inc will visit China to restart top level negotiations with China Unicom on iPhone's entry into the huge Chinese market, local media outlet reported on Tuesday morning local time.

Senior officials from Apple Inc are to visit China this week and haven't arrived in Beijing yet, an informed source told Monday evening. Apple's branch company in China is ready for the reception, and it has informed China Unicom about this earlier.”

Their visit has the aim of meeting senior officials from China Unicom to discuss how iPhone should enter Chinese market, the source said, adding that Apple officials may also meet seniors officials of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

On March 8, a negotiation team led by Li Gang, vice president of China Unicom, visited the U.S. to negotiate with Apple. Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing, is expected to host the negotiations in China this time.

Despite this latest development it has been very clear that Apple is set to exploit the Chinese market.

Apple sold 13.7 million iPhones in 80 countries, Apple said in March. Together with iPod Touch, the number will surpass 30 million. Nevertheless, the must-have gadget still isn't available in China - at least not officially, Shaw Wu, a Kaufman Bros. analyst, wrote in a recent research note

According to MIIT, the number of phone users in China has surpassed one billion during the first half of 2009.

Once iPhone is available in China, it'll see a more promising market.

Apple has been well prepared for entry into the China market as it strives to convert its software into Chinese and embed 3G services from China Unicom into its iPhones.

According to a listing posted on China's State Radio Regulatory Commission (SRRC) website on May 7, 2009 Apple was approved for a GSM / WCDMA cellp hone complete with Bluetooth and an internal model number of A1324. The statement says that the certificate expires in five years. This has been seen as a turning point for Apple to enter mainland China.

It has was also later confirmed by China Telecommunication Technology Labs (CTTL) of the China Academy of Telecom Research, a research institute under the MIIT. CTTL said Apple's iPhone is taking an entry-net test.

Sina said it had gotten one iPhone test model which is said to be the new iPhone model that China Unicom will launch.

Apple and Unicom has never stopped negotiations on cooperation and has joined hands to test iPhones, the source said. However, as the talks haven’t come to a conclusion, it's too early to say China Unicom has bought iPhones without offering Apple the shares of telephone rates.