By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
August 17, 2010

Apple is stepping up its product releases in the world’s largest mobile market

China’s Caixin Media group reported Monday that China Unicom (CHU) has won the right to sell the iPad — both the Wi-Fi and the 3G versions — in China. No date for the product’s release was given.

The report follows news that China Unicom will be selling the iPhone 4 in early September, less than three months after that device was released in the U.S.

China Unicom, with 315 million subscribers, is China’s second-largest carrier and Apple’s (AAPL) exclusive partner in China — at least for now. The chairman of China Mobile (CHL), the world’s largest carrier with more than 500 million wireless subscribers, said in May that his company had a keen interest in the iPad.

It was only last week that China Unicom was allowed to sell the Wi-Fi version of the iPhone 3GS that had been available in the rest of the world for more than a year. Chinese government restrictions on high-speed Internet access had prevented Apple and China Unicom from marketing any device in China equipped with a Wi-Fi radio.

Now that those restrictions have been lifted, Apple seems to be moving aggressively to put the Chinese market on the same product release timetable as the rest of Asia.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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