China Gets the iPad Mini (Again)

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) chief executive Tim Cook has confirmed that the cellular version of the iPad mini will arrive in China later this month. The Wi-Fi version of the smaller Apple tablet was in the country on December 7, just over a month after its launch in the United States. The cellular iPad mini finished a lengthy network licensing process in China just last month, and Cook acknowledged that the long approval period was the reason for the delay in the tablet’s arrival.

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Topeka Capital analyst Brian White had noted in a research note earlier this month that the iPad mini was facing consumers’ “insatiable appetite” in China and Hong Kong. “Prior to the China launch, we indicated that the iPad mini would be the ‘next big thing in China’ and we believe this phenomenon is starting to develop,” the analyst added in his note to investors.

The iPhone 5 went on sale in China on December 14, a little under two months after its U.S. launch and just over two week after it gained regulatory approval. Cook added that Apple was making an effort to decrease wait times, The Next Web said. One way to get early approval is to apply in advance of a product unveiling, but that involves the risk of information about the device getting leaked.

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On his trip to China, the Apple chief executive has also met government officials and China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) chairman Xi Guohua, presumably to discuss a carrier deal for the iPhone.

China contributed 16 percent to Apple’s global sales last quarter, and Cook said the country was on its way to becoming the company’s largest market. He added that the iPhone maker planned to open at least 14 more retail stores in the country to take the total to 25.

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