It was reported 6 months back that there could be an estimated 400,000 unlocked iPhones in China and this figure should have at least doubled since then.
It is interesting to see how the iPhone will be entering China. The best way will be to partner with China Mobile, which means the iPhone will be customised to China Mobile's requirements and subscribers will likely have to sign yearly contract. This will certainly reduce the price of iPhone allowing easy entry for chinese mobile users to own the phone.
With the phone customised for China, I m sure Apple would have to disable the wi-fi feature from the iPhone. With the wi-fi feature removed, I m quite sure the iPhone will be less attractive and this will encourage many to opt for the "non-official" version that i m sure will find its way into China.
I m not too sure whether China Mobile will allow users to access Apple's iTunes Music Store as China Mobile is also promoting the full track music downloads on their portal. Even if its allowed, without wi-fi, the user experience on iTunes will fall short as the existing EDGE network will not support it well.
Its going to be a guessing game how the whole arrangement will be inked out. One thing for sure, iPhone is definitely coming to China and I m quite certain that its going to be real soon as I m sure Apple wants a piece of the mobile action in China.