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Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 04:35 am PT (07:35 am ET)

iPhone approved in South Korea; China Mobile talks continue

Apple is set to launch the iPhone in South Korea this month after earning approval from the nation's telecommunications director Wednesday; and talks with carrier China Mobile remain ongoing.

South Korea launch said imminent

The Korea Communications Commission approved the iPhone at its meeting, which means Apple can now sell the device whenever it chooses, according to The Associated Press. After the handset's debut in China, South Korea is one of the last major Asian countries without the iPhone.

The handset is now expected to arrive in a matter of weeks, perhaps before the end of the month. Service providers KT Corp. and SK Telecom Co. have reportedly been in talks with Apple to sell the iPhone on their networks. None of the parties involved had anything to announce Wednesday.

The government approval for the handset came from a nationwide policy that all devices providing location-based services be subjected to review.

China Mobile talks ongoing

Apple's negotiations with the world's largest wireless provider, China Mobile, are said to remain in progress. A report Wednesday from Dow Jones Newswires stated that Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile, said his company would like to sell the iPhone, along with other smartphone models, to diversify their product lineup.

He said the iPhone is particularly attractive because of its appeal to younger customers.

Rival carrier China Unicom reached a three-year deal with Apple in August. The non-exclusive agreement left the door open for a potential deal with China Mobile.

Earlier this year, it was estimated that China Mobile has 475 million total subscribers. China Unicom is said to have 141 million of the nation's 700 million total wireless subscribers. There are more cell phone customers in China than in the U.S. and Europe combined.