Apple Keen on Development of China Mobile 4G IPhone, Wang Says

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs is interested in developing a version of the iPhone for China Mobile Communications Corp.’s TD-LTE network, the Asian carrier’s chairman said.

“Jobs has expressed his interest in an LTE iPhone and is willing to start the development at an early date,” Chairman Wang Jianzhou said outside of a Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference meeting in Beijing today. Carolyn Wu, an Apple spokeswoman in Beijing, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail and phone call seeking comment.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in December gave China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier by subscribers, approval to begin large-scale tests of its fourth- generation TD-LTE network in Shanghai, Hangzhou and four other cities. The nation’s investment in 4G will double to $100 million this year as trials get under way, El Segundo, California-based IHS ISuppli forecasts.

Commercialization of the technology could begin in China, the world’s largest mobile-phone market, in the second half of next year, the ministry said in January. The nation’s spending on the 4G network may reach $1.3 billion by 2014, according to IHS ISuppli.

China Mobile’s previously announced plan to list shares in Shanghai will be carried out “as soon as possible,” Wang said, without elaboration.

Wang said he was disappointed in Taiwan’s policy letting mainland Chinese invest in flat-panel and chip-manufacturing industries because his company hasn’t been allowed to buy a stake in Taiwan’s Far EasTone Telecommunications Co.

Taiwan announced on March 2 that Chinese investors can buy the stakes to deepen cross-strait economic ties.

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