China Unicom Ltd. announced a deal Friday with Apple Inc. to sell iPhones in mainland China, the world's most populous mobile phone market.
The phones are expected to go on the Chinese market in the final quarter of this year, Unicom said in a statement released in Hong Kong. It gave no financial details and did not say how much the iPhone would cost.
Unicom, one of three major state-owned phone carriers, would be the first Chinese phone company to formally support the iPhone, though thousands of unlocked iPhones brought in from other markets are in use in China.
China has the world's most populous mobile phone market, with some 650 million accounts.
The industry has closely watched Apple's drawn-out talks with potential Chinese partners.
Chinese news reports earlier this month said Unicom had secured a three-year exclusive deal to carry the iPhone and agreed to buy 5 million handsets for 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion).