China's People's Daily reported this week that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted China Compulsory Certification for the iPhone 4S on Dec. 22. That means Apple has met all of the requirements necessary to launch its latest smartphone in mainland China.
The report said the handset will debut "at the beginning of January 2012," and will hit the market before the Chinese New Year. That takes place on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012.
Filings with the Chinese government show a WCDMA phone manufactured by Apple was granted approval. Though it does not specifically reveal that the device is the iPhone 4S, it is listed as model number A1431, which is the same number Apple used to obtain a network entry permit for the iPhone 4S.
The approval process and anticipated release of the iPhone 4S has dragged out in China as Apple has quickly launched its latest smartphone in other major markets around the world. It's been the fastest rollout ever for a new iPhone model.
The iPhone 4S did debut in Hong Kong in the first week of November, and sold out within minutes. Some regional branches of China Unicom in mainland China have been taking advance bookings for the iPhone 4S for weeks in anticipation of the device's launch as it goes through China's approval process.
One of the major selling points of the iPhone 4S is Siri, Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant application. Rumors have suggested that Siri will gain support for Mandarin, the most popular form of the Chinese language, by March of 2012.