China Mobile expects to see the CNY27 billion ($4.4 billion) it spent on subsidising handsets in 2013 increase next year as it seeks to further drive smartphone take-up among its users, according to chairman Xi Guohua (pictured), quoted on the operator’s microblog.
The operator is looking to sell up to 220 million smartphones in 2014 compared with 155 million this year, according to Xi. If next year’s target is achieved then it would represent a 42-per-cent growth over 2013. His microblog comments were reported by Bloomberg.
In addition, Xi said China Mobile has yet to reach agreement with Apple in a closely-watched smartphone deal. A previous report that a deal between the two companies had been signed was denied by the operator.
Xi hopes to tie-up an agreement with Apple “soon”, according to the China Daily, which also quoted unnamed officials at the company saying it would not make an announcement today (18 December) at China Mobile’s Global Partner Conference. However, analysts believe a confirmation is imminent.
A previous report had said the conference would be used to announce an agreement between the two companies.
Finally, China Mobile has signed ten distribution agreements with smartphone manufacturers, retailers and online retailers, according to Xinhua News Agency.
The aim of the agreements is to boost 4G take-up. Partners include manufacturers Lenovo and Xiaomi, as well as consumer electronic stores Suning Appliance and Gome and e-commerce websites such as JD.com.