Mobile’s Biggest Market Getting iPhone 4S by Chinese New Year

In early December, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued a network access permit for Apple to introduce the iPhone 4S into the world’s most populous mobile market.

Ostensibly, the permit was the last hurdle for Apple to jump before it could legally sell the iPhone 4S in China.

Within hours of the permit being granted, China Unicom said that it expected to launch the device by the end of December. But on Tuesday, China’s People’s Daily reported that Apple has, indeed, met all of the compulsory requirements to launch the smartphone in mainland China. And a new estimated launch date has been proposed.

The iPhone 4S is expected to reach the Chinese market before the Chinese New Year, which starts Monday, January 23, 2012.

Despite what may appear to have been a long, drawn-out process to get the iPhone 4S into China, if the January 23rd launch date happens, it will be the fastest time Apple has managed to get one of its new devices into the Chinese market.