Shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) gained 2.5% to $282.12 on Monday, the highest intraday recorded PPS since going public, after the company said the iPhone 4 will be available in China starting Saturday, September 25.
The launch, announced this morning by Apple and China Unicom (CHU), will coincide with the openings of the Hong Kong Plaza Apple Store in Shanghai and the Xidan Joy City Apple Store in Beijing, bringing the total number of Apple retail outlets on the Mainland to four.
Apple’s latest deal with China Unicon will most likely boost the co.’s shipments of its wildly popular device and help the Chinese telecom operator attract more users to its 3G mobile services. According to the Wall Street Journal, China Unicom took nearly 50,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4 on Friday, the first day it was accepting pre-orders. Users who buy through China Unicom will have to pay 4,999 yuan (about $745) for the 16GB model without a contract and 5,999 yuan ($894) for 32GB.
It’s obvious that AAPL’s iPhone business continues to expand by adding new customer, which is why the co. plans to open 25 stores in Mainland by 2012. With nearly 800 million subscribers, China may turn out to be the world’s most important market for smartphones.
Separately, AAPL scored a price-target boost from Kaufman Bros. this morning. Kaufman raised its price target to $374 from $350, reiterating its “Buy” rating on the shares.
Apple gained $7.13, or 2.61 percent, to $282.55 at 2:18 p.m. ET in Nasdaq composite trading, extending its year-to-date rally to nearly 31%. The stock is trading well beyond its 50 day MA and 200 MA of $256.22, $236.13, respectively, and will now face resistance up at $290-$300 on the upside.
CHU advanced 30 cents, or 1.97 percent, to $15.51.