Shares of Chinese carriers surge on possible talks with Apple

Shares of China Mobile and China Unicom, the mainland's two biggest mobile service companies, surged in Hong Kong, lifted by news that China Mobile was in talks with Apple to bring the iPhone to China, an Associated Press report said.

China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou told reporters about the discussions with Apple, but said the two companies had not yet reached an agreement, the Associated Press report said.

Apple launched the iPhone in the US earlier this year and has said it plans to launch the device in Asia in 2008, the report said.

However, it hasn't disclosed any details on which operators in the region it might work with.

China Mobile shot up 9.23%, while China Unicom rose 6.19%.

The news also lifted Apple's shares in the US by 10.5%.

Analysts said it was likely Cupertino, California-based Apple might launch the iPhone with only one exclusive partner in each country in Asia, and that it might take a while to iron out details about revenue sharing.

Apple officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

The Associated Press report also quoted China Unicom executive director and VP Li Zhengmao as saying that his company also was willing to hold talks with Apple to bring the iPhone to China, though he said there had been no discussions so far.

China Mobile is China's biggest mobile services operator with 349.66 million subscribers at the end of September. China Unicom had 156.03 million users at the end of September.