Aiya! There's still no iPhone officially available in the world's most populous country, the People's Republic of China. Sure, Apple actually sells unlocked iPhones in Hong Kong and Taiwan in an attempt to lure the most affluent Chinese customers to their platform -- and lets not forget the monstrous iPhone 2G black market -- but absent homegrown carrier subsidies and support, it will never attain most-favored device status.

Previously the problem was China Mobile wanting to strip out the 3G and WiFi. The latest holdup? The App Store, according to Interfaxchina (via Ars). China Mobile doesn't seem to like the idea of Apple running its own software service right on the phone, and would prefer to handle all that on their own end. Heh. So would AT&T, Rogers, Vodafone, and all the other oppressive, myopic, oligopolistic carriers around the world. The lure of the iPhone and its data-gulping customers let Apple one-inch-punch their way right through that tired old carcass, but China...?

China's still wearing the iron vest of feature control furor.

So the raised platform is set, the combatants have taken their corners, and the rules remain: knockout or knockoff. Who's going to win this battle?