Via Retuers, The Shanghai Securities News is reporting that Apple and Chinese mobile operator China Unicom have reached an agreement regarding sales of the iPhone in China. Unlike other deals that include a revenue sharing clause whereby Apple receives a cut of the customer’s monthly bill, China Unicom will be buying the iPhone outright and and then reselling it to customers. The operator has a 3 year exclusivity deal with the iPhone in China, and will be buying the iPhone from Apple at $439 per unit. Under the agreement, China Unicom is expected to hit at least $732 million per year in revenues as well as shift between 1 and 2 million iPhones in the same amount of time. Apple and China Unicom could not be reached for comment. For a country with so many people, 3-6 million iPhones in 3 years sounds like a gross underestimate. It’s also about time this deal happens, these two have been in negotiations for over a year.
Update: Engadget Mobile has more information, quoting a China Unicom spokesperson who told AFP reporters that: “we have made progress but there are still some problems to be resolved.” Looks like the Chinese are going to have to continue tapping the grey market to get their iPhone fix.