iPhone 4S set for Chinese New Year launch on mainland

December 27, 2011, 1:07 PM UTC

Apple received final certification on Dec. 22, according to a report in the People’s Daily

Reports that the iPhone 4S was headed for mainland China — the world’s largest mobile phone market — have been dribbling in ever since the device arrived in Hong Kong last month.

The news in November was that it would arrive on the mainland in December. On Dec. 6 Apple (AAPL) was reported to have been granted a network access permit by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the second-to-last step toward final approval. (see here)

Now the People’s Daily, the official news organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, reports that a device with the same model number as the iPhone 4S (A1431) passed the final hurdle, obtaining its China Compulsory Certification on Dec. 21.

That gives Apple plenty of time to get the iPhone in the hands of retailers before the Chinese New Year, the biggest shopping event on China’s calendar. It falls this year on Jan. 23.

According to the People’s Daily report, some distributors of Shenyang and Shenzhen have started to receive bookings.

Greater China — which Apple defines as Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan — is the company’s fastest-growing market, with sales up 270% since 2010, thanks in large part to the seemingly unquenchable appetite for iPhones among China’s growing middle class.