740 Million, that’s the number worth noting here. China Mobile’s customers, all 740 million of them, were able to preorder the iPhone for the first time ever on the network during a soft launch this morning. Both the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S were making their debut today on the network.

It’s been a very long time in the making, with rumors of all kinds of Apple VPs in and out of the country to have meetings with the carrier and government officials. It seems like the hard work could be about to pay out.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt over at Fortune notes that the soft launch is now closed, and will be opened again in the near future.

That said, Apple’s about to find out whether or not the iPhone 5C is going to preform in the country like they expect, or additionally, if the iPhone as a whole will be as successful on the China Mobile network as it is on other networks like China Unicom.

It’s going to be a while before we get official numbers on an official launch at China Mobile, but it’s something you should keep an eye on over the coming months. Success on the China Mobile network could largely influence the global smartphone market numbers in a hurry.

Apple shareholders are silently licking their chops in anticipation.

Photo Credit: toehk (cc)