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Apple prepping Wi-Fi iPhone for China

At long last, Apple and China Unicom Ltd. are working to introduce Wi-Fi-enabled iPhones to China.

The iPhone has failed to thrive in China, due in part to an active black market and the Golden Shield Project (GSP), which censors certain Internet content. To comply with the GSP, devices that include wireless Internet have been required to use China's own WAPI standard. Meeting that requirement forced Apple to re-design the iPhone for China.

In the meantime, a change in policy permitted devices to have both WAPI and Wi-Fi, but by then it was too late, and the 1st round of re-designed iPhones were released in China without Wi-Fi.

Now, Unicom Chief Executive Chang Xiaobing says that iPhones with Wi-Fi will be made available to his company's customers. He didn't announce when that will happen, but did suggest that existing customers (without Wi-Fi) will be compensated, perhaps with expanded use of Unicom's high-speed 3G network.

Unfortunately, this probably won't send iPhone sales soaring. There's still a powerful black market to contend with and less expensive iPhones in Hong Kong.

[Via Silicon Alley Insider]

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