China Mobile, the world's biggest cell phone operator, said Thursday it was interested in selling the iPad, and that talks with Apple over the sale of iPhones were still ongoing.
"China Mobile has been in constant talks with Apple over cooperation issues," Rainie Lei, a Hong Kong-based company spokeswoman, told AFP by telephone.
"China Mobile has expressed an interest in iPad."
China Mobile is developing an electronic book business and company chairman Wang Jianzhou said Wednesday that the operator was interested in providing e-text to Chinese users via the iPad.
Apple has not yet officially launched the iPad in Asia, but a "grey market" trade in the touchscreen portable tablet computer has boomed in stores from Singapore to Seoul to Beijing.
The California-based firm launched the much-anticipated gadget on the US domestic market last month and has announced it will be offered for the first time outside the United States on May 28 in nine countries including Japan.
China's grey market in Apple products developed to satisfy demand for the iPhone, which was only officially introduced in the country in October by China Mobile's rival China Unicom -- more than two years after its US launch.
But Wang said China Mobile, which had 539 million users as of the end of March, still hoped to provide the iPhone to its customers.
"The key issue at the moment is that we would like the new-generation iPhones to use TD-SCDMA standard," he said.
TD-SCDMA, or Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access, is China's home-grown standard for 3G telecom services -- technology that can transmit images and video at high speeds.
China had a total of 776.9 million mobile subscribers at the end of March, the largest number of any country.
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