China Mobile Chief Executive Li Yue confirmed on Thursday that the carrier added one million new iPhone customers in the four weeks following the iPhone’s launch in mid-January, reports the Wall Street Journal. China Mobile released these subscriber figures as part of its earnings statement, which also included the carrier’s first annual profit decline in 14 years.
To offset growing competition from rival carriers China Unicom and China Telecom, China Mobile is trying to attract new customers with the combination of its new 4G network and flagship phones like the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c.
“We added 1.34 million new 4G users in February and most of them are iPhone users. We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities,” China Mobile Chairman Xi Gouhua told The Wall Street Journal.
China is the world’s largest mobile phone market by subscribers, with over 1.24 billion mobile subscribers as of January 2014, and China Mobile is the country’s largest wireless carrier. Analysts predict the addition of the iPhone to China Mobile’s smartphone lineup could boost iPhone sales by 15 to 30 million units in 2014. Apple sold 51 million iPhones globally in Q1 2014 and has sold 472.3 million smartphones in total as of January 2014.
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