A man holds a new Apple iPhone 5S next to his iPhone 5 at an Apple Store at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district

Photo: readwrite.com

China Mobile announced that it sold 1.34M 4G handsets in February and that “most of them” were iPhones. China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua was relatively non-committal on the numbers.

It’s just been getting started for one or two months. So far it’s hard to tell how that will affect our business […]

We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities.

Analyst estimates of likely sales had varied widely. Most had predicted at least 15-17M sales a year in China as a whole, however, suggesting that 1M in a month on what is by far the country’s largest carrier may be somewhat lower than anticipated … 

There was, however, no reaction from the market in pre-market trading in AAPL, the 0.27 percent dip in the stock price well within normal variation.

China Mobile reported its first annual drop in profits in 14 years, which has been attributed to a mix of infrastructure investment in 4G, loss of SMS revenue from other messaging services and handset subsidies to meet fierce price competition from other outlets. The company is hoping that data revenues from iPhone users will help drive profitability through the year.

Analytics data suggests that the iPhone 5S has around a 12 percent share of iOS devices in China, while the 5c has just two percent – older iPhones and iPads making up the balance.

Morgan Stanley yesterday said that it expected Apple to announce worldwide Q2 sales of 42M, a 4.5M year-on-year rise.

Via the WSJ and Reuters