Remember that China Unicom iPhone that we spotted a while back? Well, it sounds like things are getting more official for the Chinese iPhone today. A new report from the International Business Times has China Unicom ordering 5 million of Apple’s custom-made, WiFi-less iPhones for a grand total of 10 billion yuan ($1.46 billion). Word has it that China Unicom has yet to hammer out the nitty-gritty details of the deal, but should begin selling the China-specific iPhones in September.
The size of the order gives us a glimpse at why Apple has been fighting so hard to crack the Chinese market. As the world’s single largest mobile market, China Unicom’s 5 million-strong iPhone order is on par with Apple’s entire Q1 2009 sales volume (5.2 million). With China Unicom’s help, Apple might see their quarterly iPhone shipments almost doubled overnight.
China Unicom will reportedly sell the 8GB iPhone for 2,400 yuan ($352) and the 16GB iPhone for 4,800 yuan (US$704). Apple’s profit from each WiFi-less iPhone sold to China Unicom? A solid 1,100 yuan ($161). A bit of quick math tells us that Apple is celebrating their China Unicom deal… all the way to the bank.