Apple CEO Tim Cook says he is "incredibly optimistic" about the firm's partnership with China Mobile -- suggesting there may be deeper ties between the companies in the future.
Speaking at a press conference before the latest iPhone models hit the country's shelves on Friday, Cook said iPhone sales will hit a record high in Greater China during Q1, and Apple's deal with China Mobile is likely to bolster sales in the region.
Apple announced a multi-year deal with the carrier last year. Analysts predict the deal could allow the iPad and iPhone maker to sell between 15 and 20 million additional iPhones a year.
"We've gotten to know each other...today is a beginning, and I think there are lots more things our companies can do together in the future," Cook said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua said the firm's customers have already placed orders for several million iPhones. The Apple chief said he was "incredibly optimistic" about the partnership, which suggests it will not be limited to handsets in the future -- although he declined to give further details.
The partnership gives Apple a boost not only by securing an additional channel to entice consumers into purchases, but secures the tech giant the final state-run telecom service provider, as iPhones are already available through China Unicom and China Telecom. The iPhone is a coveted gadget in China, but Apple will face hurdles on price, as many consumers opt for cheaper options provided by Android-based mobiles.
"As of this weekend we will be selling iPhones in more than 3,000 additional locations," Cook commented. "China Mobile already has a reach to many cities that Apple does not have a reach to."
China Mobile accounts for 760 million customers, and is currently in the process of rolling out 4G across the nation. By the end of this year, the telecom provider expects 340 cities to have 4G coverage, which will be boosted by Apple's network standard.