Late Friday Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan's largest wireless carrier, signed an agreement to become the sole distributor of the iPhone in Taiwan. While this in and of itself is great for Apple, which continues to want to expand its iPhone 3G presence across the globe, the more interesting question is: will this mean a possible iPhone expansion to China soon?
In a brief emailed press release, Chunghwa Telecom said that it "has signed a contract with Apple, and will provide third- generation iPhone services in Taiwan
before the end of the year." The company said that it will be part of Phase Three of Apple's global iPhone 3G rollout; Phase Two
was in late August and included 21 new countries to the iPhone 3G fold, including Argentina, Estonia, Poland, and India, among others.
So will Phase Three include China?
Apple has been trying --- and failing --- to get the iPhone into China, whose carriers are obviously playing hardball. With the huge population in that country, it's a pearl highly designed by any handset manufacturer.
And with the island nation of Taiwan coming into the Apple fold, will China be close behind? After all, China claims Taiwan as its own (though that really has nothing to do with an Appole / Chinese carrier agreement).
On Thursday AppleInsider
reported that Apple had posted a job for an “iPhone Quality Assurance Engineer” in Beijing. Thing is, that job posting
disappeared later that day, whether because the job was filled, cancelled, or removed to avoid speculation.
In any case, a China deal would be huge for Apple. Shareholders, cross your fingers.