Apple is reported to have taken a significant step towards releasing the iPhone 4S in China after the device was approved by the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), a mandatory step for all phones that are introduced in the country, according to MIC Gadget.

A local media source has claimed that the device has passed the necessary tests from the MIIT, the organisation responsible for the regulation and development of Internet and wireless technologies in China, meaning that it will now need to wait for up to two weeks to receive a network access permit.

Once the permit is released, the device will have completed the necessary administrative steps making it ready for sale. However, neither Apple nor its partner, China Unicom, have commented or confirmed the device’s current status in the country.

We previously reported that China Unicom is set to release the full iPhone 4S range, alongside a 8Gb version of the iPhone 4, before the end of the year and, with the final stage of MIIT approval pending, this timeline remains entirely possible.

Apple is reportedly looking to hire a government relations consultant, who will be responsible for coordinating regulatory processes and communicating with different government departments  to ensure Apple products receive the necessary certification and licenses. With the administrative details close to completion, the consultant’s next mobile focus would be the iPhone 5, which could finally see a link-up with China Mobile.

The iPhone 4S launch in neighbouring Hong Kong saw chaotic scenes as the phone sold out rapidly, as it did in many other countries upon its release. Hong Kong’s launch, which limited each customer’s purchases to ten devices, saw large number of grey market dealers from China pick up devices to sell on the mainland at inflated prices.