According to a recent report at Patently Apple, China's telecommunications bureaucracy last week granted a license for both 4G and 3G networks, which means Apple will be able to sell the latest iPad model on the mainland.
According to China's Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center website, the license was issued for the Apple device on Monday. Without it, the company couldn't legally sell the new iPad in the Chinese mainland.
However, in a followup, Patently Apple said that it wasn't certain that Monday was the launch date for mainland China sales.
There has been a large gray market for the iPad in China and in late March several news services reported a softening of prices, dropping down towards the actual U.S. retail price. The gray marketeers will be out of luck when the iPad arrives. There have also been stories about fake Apple Stores selling fake Apple products.
I admit to a bit of deja-vu-all-over-again in these reports. In the 1990s, there were many reports of Apple and its proposed Mac OS licensing partners readying to make gains in the Chinese market.
For example, in the Feb. 26, 1996 issue of MacWEEK, I wrote about how Motorola and Apple were prepping Mac OS machines for the China market. It was going to sell machines in a joint venture with Panda Electronics Group. Of course, there was hope for millions of sales and new markets for software and services.
All of those plans were for naught. However, there's no doubt that this time Apple with its iPad tablet platform will be the real deal in China — like every other market in the world.