And on Jan. 13, Apple will do just that.
The company said Wednesday that China would be among 22 new countries that soon would get the newest iPhone model, one of Apple's hottest-selling yet. The iPhone now accounts for nearly half of Apple's annual revenue, and some analysts believe it earns the company more than 60 percent of its profit.
China is one of the world's largest mobile device markets, with close to a billion cellphone users by some estimates. Apple is already a partner with China Unicom, one of the larger carriers, with close to 200 million cellular subscribers.
Apple said it had no plans to announce a partnership with China Mobile, the country's largest carrier, with more than 630 million subscribers _ a user base that is more than twice the size of the entire U.S. population.
Still Apple has been rumored for months to be nailing down a deal with China Mobile, and millions of the carrier's customers are already modifying the device to work on China Mobile's network.
Will Siri, the talking advisor built into the iPhone 4S, be able to speak and understand Mandarin? Eventually, yes.
An Apple spokesman said the company planned to add support this year for a number of languages, including Chinese. But Siri won't be multilingual yet when the phone hits Chinese stores this month.