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China Mobile, Apple yet to open formal talks over iPhone launch
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China Mobile has not started formal negotiations with Apple Inc. over the iPhone, despite the intention of both sides to cooperate.

Details about issues such as business models and commercialization have prevented the companies from entering formal talks. No time frame was available either at the moment, China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou said on the sidelines of 2008 conference of the Boao Forum for Asia on Saturday in China's southern Hainan Province.

"Our door will remain open as long as there is customer demand, " said the head the country's largest cell phone carrier during a panel discussion on the sustained growth and development of the telecom industry.

Apple launched its iPhone -- a hand-held device that combines a mobile phone, a wide-screen iPod and an Internet device into one -- in the United States in January 2007. It planned to launch it into the Asian market this year.

Wang said China Mobile subscribers currently totaled more than 380 million, nearly 30 percent of the country's total population. The number had been expanding six to seven million per month, mostly fueled by consumers in the rural areas, he added.

He foresaw a robust future for the telecom industry, both at home and globally, as mobile communications were a "consumption of low energy" and a stimulus for other products such as mobile music.

More than 200 million China Mobile users have used their phones to download music or songs, he said.

China, one of the world's fastest-growing cell phone market, was expected to have nearly 600 million people using mobile phones this year.

(Xinhua News Agency April 13, 2008)

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