Apple iPhone 5

Apple received two certificates to sell the iPhone 5 in China this week — the first in a number of steps Apple must go through before Chinese fans can get their hands on the phone.

Apple has to get a China Compulsory Certificate, approval from the China Radio Management Agency, and a license to use cellular networks for every phone it wants to bring to China, as The Next Web points out. Of those, tech blog Sina Tech says Apple today received two China Compulsory Certificates for two different versions of the iPhone 5.

The certificate indicates that China Unicom and China Telecom, both existing carrier partners with Apple, will get the next iPhone. While China Telecom has over 62 million mobile subscribers, there’s still no word on Apple bringing the iPhone 5 to China’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, which has almost 700 million subscribers.

The iPhone 5 was released earlier last week in the U.S. and is a thinner, longer version of its predecessors. [Check out our review of the iPhone 5.]  It comes pre-loaded with Apple’s latest operating system iOS 6, and sports the new A6 chip.

It took Apple nearly four months to release its latest iPad in mainland China, after the revamped device was released to customers in the U.S. in March. The launch in China on July 20 reportedly went smoothly, and drew large crowds as per usual. Recent reports say that China is a huge, if not the biggest market for Apple’s iPad, in the world. According to Analysis International, the iPad has 73 percent market share among tablets in the country.

iPhone 5 image via Meghan Kelly/VentureBeat