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iPhone 5 heading to China later this year, recent reports indicate

The iPhone 5 will expand to China by the end of the year, but not necessarily with the superpower's biggest telecoms carrier.

China Unicom has told technology site Sohu IT that it will launch Apple's new smartphone within the next three months, if all goes smoothly.

Apple and Unicom have come to an agreement, according to Unicom executive Li Gang, and are now awaiting the approval of China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Radio Authority to settle on a release date for the iPhone 5, The Next Web reported.

China is a frontrunner in the Apple sales race, and despite a recent dip in business, Apple CEO Tim Cook still believes the country is "growing at incredible rates."

Apple has seen 25 per cent earnings growth in the Asia-Pacific market over the last year, and China alone has made up two-thirds of the company's revenue in the region.

Meanwhile, the world's largest phone company China Mobile was reportedly in talks in May with the Cupertino-based firm, aiming to snag the new iPhone for its customers. But that prospect appears shaky now, according to Sohu IT.

Competitor China Telecom began offering the iPhone 4S in March, and China Unicom introduced the iPhone to the country in 2009. Based on data from Gartner, China's first-quarter iPhone sales were particularly strong, selling more than 5 million units.

Apple unveiled its 4in iPhone 5 last week to considerable fanfare, though not all consumers were totally satisfied by Apple's latest smartphone offering.

You can win an iPhone 5 in our iPhone 5 competition by answering a simple question about what generation the Phone 5 is. Check ITProPortal live report on Apple’s announcement. Other than theiPhone 5, we saw new iPod devices but no cheaper version of the iPhone 4S, an iPad mini and potentially a 13in Macbook Pro with Retina Display.