Interfax is reporting that Richard Branson’s Virgin Mobile is planning a move into China, and is reportedly in talks with China Unicom over the establishment of an MVNO joint venture, dubbed Virgin United Communications. The new operator could be launched in Shanghai later this year, although Virgin Mobile has been tight-lipped as to specific details. Any coopperation between the two players would need the approval of the MII. According to China’s commitment to the WTO, foreign companies are allowed to operate mobile voice and data services in and between 17 major cities including Shanghai and Beijing, by setting up joint ventures with domestic operators. Foreign firms are allowed to have up to 49% stakes; the geographical restriction will be removed in December, on the five year anniversary of the People’s Republic becoming a member of the WTO.