Analyst: China iPhone Sales May Top 40M in 2013

Apple could sell as many as 40 million iPhones in China alone in 2013, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty. Part of that sales figure assumes Apple will add China Telecom and China Mobile to its partner list, Currently, China Unicom is Apple’s only iPhone partner in the country.

CHina iPhone sales for 2013 could hit 40 millionChina iPhone sales for 2013 could hit 40 million

China Mobile has about 10 million iPhone subscribers already despite the fact that users are limited to 2G data speeds, unlike most other countries where customers have access to faster 3G wireless data, and isn’t even an official Apple partner. With China Telecom and China Mobile on board, Ms. Huberty predicts the total number of iPhone subscribers in 2013 could reach 26 million at the low end, and 40 million at the high end.

Another potential boost to iPhone sales is China Mobile’s planned upgrade to support 4G TD-LTE wireless data speeds — assuming Apple strikes a deal with the carrier, and releases a LTE-compatible iPhone model.

Pushing China’s iPhone sales to the 40 million mark would be a huge boost to Apple’s already big numbers. The company reported selling some 37.04 million iPhones during its first fiscal quarter for 2012. That number is about twice what the company sold during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Ms. Huberty expects Apple will sign a deal with China Telecom before China Mobile, and may have the iPhone on the carrier’s network within the next few months.

[Thanks to Macworld UK for the heads up.]