Chinese citizens will soon be able to pick up Apple's latest mobile phone straight from the source, no longer having to rely on illegal importing or cheap knockoffs. Apple has announced that the iPhone 4 will be available across China in retail locations as well as China Unicom retail stores, on September 25 at 8AM local time. The country will be getting the phone about three months after the US launch.

Pricing sans contract is set at CNY4,999 for the 16GB model and CNY5,999 for the 32GB model ($744 and $892, respectively). China Unicom, the number two wireless carrier in China with 156 million subscribers, will be offering the device to consumers who want a two-year contract, but pricing is still unknown. To prepare for the flock of Chinese customers, Apple is also opening two new stores: one in Hong Kong Plaza, Shangai and one in Xidan Joy City, Beijing.

China is an important battleground in the smartphone wars because of its very quickly growing population of mobile users. Cheap phones are very popular in China, so Apple may have a bit of trouble selling a "premium" phone, but at the same time the number of middle class members in China is rapidly accelerating.

Two months ago, Lenovo exclaimed its luck that Apple didn't care about China. So much for that.