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Apple and China Mobile: A Match Made in Heaven?

Stocks in this article: AAPL CHL CHA CHU

China Telecom and China Unicom have had the iPhone 5 since mid-December but China Mobile has not been able to stem the market share decline with Apple's latest and greatest phone. If China Mobile were to sign a deal making the iPhone official on its network (there are reports of as many as 15 million iPhones on its network), this would be a huge deal for both companies.

On Apple's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call, Cook noted Chinese revenue was up 26% year over year to $5.7 billion. The iPhone 5 has not officially been granted network access yet, but with deals with China Telecom, China Unicom and potentially China Mobile on the way it's widely expected this number will be much higher in the coming months.

Apple has done well in China, but perhaps not as well as some of its rivals, including Samsung, ZTE, and other device makers entrenched in the world's most populous nation. Completing a deal with China Mobile would allow Apple to grow its market share and presence around the world.

If Apple's Cook and China Mobile's Guohua are able to get a deal done in a relatively short time frame, this could be the news Apple bulls need to give shares the next leg higher.

Apple shares were higher in early Thursday trading, gaining 2.19% to $528.40.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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