CUPERTINO (KCBS) — Apple and China Mobile announced a long-anticipated agreement Monday to bring the iPhone to the world’s biggest phone company.

The deal means that China Mobile’s 763 million customers will now be able to buy the iPhone 5c and 5s which could be a large sales boost for Apple in a market, where it faces intense competition.

The company’s expansion, however, will have its challenges because the iPhone is much more expensive than what most Chinese customers are used to paying.

Technology analyst Rob Enderle for the Enderle Group said that most of the phones sold in China are copies from Google and Apple.

“You can go there and you can pretty much buy anything, even cars that are identical to cars made outside the country but not made by the vendors you would think that they were from. So that remains the problem in China—there just remains an awful lot of copying done and the copies are far cheaper than the original,” he said.

The iPhone already is available in China through two smaller carriers but the latest deal links it with a bigger network and state-owned China Mobile Ltd.’s marketing power. It may also make it possible for Apple to pressure Beijing to do more to crack down on the rampant copying.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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