Apple Inc. (AAPL) wants to hire an engineer with extensive knowledge of China Mobile Ltd. (941)’s homegrown phone network, evidence it’s moving toward an agreement for the world’s largest carrier to offer the iPhone.
The manager, who will be based in Beijing, will “support and drive the carrier approval of mobile phones,” Apple said in an advertisement on its China website. The position seeks experience with TD-SCDMA, China Mobile’s own third-generation standard that isn’t used by other carriers.
China Mobile, with 63 percent of the nation’s 1.2 billion wireless subscribers, doesn’t have an iPhone distribution agreement as Apple sells its handsets through the nation’s two smaller operators, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. (762) and China Telecom Corp. (728) Apple is near a deal with China Mobile and is preparing to ship iPhones to the carrier, a person familiar with the talks said last month.
“China Mobile and Apple have been in talks on cooperation, and there is no information that can be disclosed,” the press office of the company’s state-owned parent, China Mobile Communications Corp., said today in an e-mail.
Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman, didn’t return calls and an e-mailed request for comments on the status of talks with China Mobile and the job posting.
Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has visited China at least twice this year as the Cupertino, California-based company boosts its focus on a region that was its third-biggest source of sales in the June quarter, behind only the U.S. and Europe.
Cook has said China will overtake the U.S. as its largest market, and the company last month released its new iPhone 5s and 5c in the country the same day they went on sale in North America, Japan and Europe.
Apple is looking to add a new pool of customers as it faces slowing sales and profit growth and grapples with competition from Samsung Electronics Co. and Chinese makers of smartphones costing as little as $100.
The job posting seeks in-depth knowledge and experience with wireless systems including TD-LTE, which is the 4G standard used by China Mobile. Skills with WCDMA and CDMA, the technologies used by China Unicom and China Telecom, respectively, are also sought.
“This role will be responsible for the overall management of the technical interface to all carriers in the Greater China region,” Apple said in the ad.
“This includes obtaining approvals for all Apple hardware and software, supporting carriers with new technology trials, managing carrier reported technical issues, tracking carrier road maps and supporting senior level engineering meetings.”
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