China Mobile's offer rings of Apple deal
According to China Mobile's website, customers could register for the new phones and get special data packages for ordering early. The website is advertising the carrier's new fast speed 4G service. China Mobile plans to unveil a new 4G brand at a conference in Guangzhou on December 18. In the morning, the website link specifically mentioned the iPhone 5S. However, after being contacted by CNBC, the website link has been altered to "mingxingji" which means "star phone" or "trendy phone".
(Read more: Apple's smartphone market share quadruples in China)
A China Mobile spokesperson said negotiations between the two companies are still in progress.
The website displays a golden Apple and what appear to be a gold, silver, and space grey iPhone 5S. The ad says "some things are worth waiting for". As of 2:30pm in Beijing, around 7,000 people had pre-ordered; each customer is limited to one phone.
China Mobile is the nation's largest cell phone service carrier and has more than 700 million subscribers. Analysts say a deal with China Mobile would be key to Apple's future growth in the country.
— Additional reporting by Bo Gu.
— By CNBC's Eunice Yoon. Follow her on Twitter @eyoonCNBC