iPhone 4S to get a New Year's launch in China?

The iPhone 4S has cleared it's final hurdle for release in China, and reports suggest that the device is set to launch around the Chinese New Year.

Reports suggest the iPhone 4S will be going on sale in mainland China for the crucial New Year's period.

The iPhone 4S has cleared its final hurdle for launch, obtaining China's compulsory network certification on December 21st.

The People's Daily, official news site for the Central Committee of the China Communist Party, revealed that distributors in Shenyang and Shenzen are already receiving bookings for the phone.

This news confirms previous reports that the iPhone 4S was close to being ready for shelves, with a New Year's or December release date planned.

The iPhone received its three-year Network Access Permit from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology earlier this month.

China Unicom's sales executive Yu Yingtao had previously implied that they were hoping for a December launch. "I am sure the device will hit the Chinese market before the Spring Festival. We are trying to release it before Jan 1st", he said.

However, China Unicom and Apple have declined to comment and have not yet named an official launch date.

The Chinese New Year will fall on January 23rd in 2012. Though there is still no definitive launch date for the iPhone 4S it seems most likely that Apple is planning a New Year's release because it is a key shopping season in the region.

China is the worlds largest smartphone market, having taken over from the United States earlier this year. It's estimated that China currently has around 952 million users.

China is also Apple's fastest growing market, with sales going up 270 percent from 2010. It is estimated that around 10 million users are using iPhones unofficially on China's biggest carrier, China Mobile.