The discovery of a particular Qualcomm chip in the iPhone 5 has led to speculation that Apple may be planning to make its newest handset available for use on China Mobile — the world’s largest mobile carrier. A report from The Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple could reach a deal with China Mobile due to the presence of a TD-SCDMA compatible chip in the iPhone 5 which could support the 3G networking standard used by China Mobile. A research note from HSBC Holdings PLC says Apple is “clearing the way for a potential iPhone deal between China Mobile and Apple.”

Apple has already offered the iPhone to smaller competitors of China Mobile — China Unicom and China Telecom, and Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China earlier this year and is rumored to have met with China Mobile on a prior trip in 2011. [via Cult of Mac]