Apple creates China record with 2m sales of iPhone 5



BEIJING: Apple said the iPhone 5 posted record sales in its first weekend of availability in China, the world's largest mobile-phone market by users.

Apple sold more than 2 million of its latest handsets in the three days following its December 14 introduction in the country, Apple said in a statement yesterday. Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Apple, said she didn't have comparable data to release on initial sales in China of previous models.

Apple fell to its lowest price in 10 months on December 14 after Steven Milunovich, an analyst at UBS in New York, cut his price estimate for the shares, citing concern that growth may slow for the iPhone and iPad.

The iPhone 5 may not sell as well as the previous model in China, Milunovich said in a report. The China sales are part of the fastest iPhone roll-out yet, with the device scheduled for introduction in 100 countries by December 31, Apple said in yesterday's statement.

"Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible," Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said in the statement.

"China is a very important market for us and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products.:

The company's flagship store in Beijing's Sanlitun district was pelted with eggs in January when it didn't open as scheduled for the first day of sales for the iPhone 4S. Demand for the iPhone in China was 'staggering', and the company "didn't bet high enough," Cook said on January 24.

To eliminate the risk of a recurrence with sales of the iPhone 5, Apple introduced a registration system that required buyers to reserve a device online before it could be picked up in Apple stores.

Apple's global introduction of the iPhone 5 was September 21, and more than 5 million devices were sold in the nine countries and territories that participated in the first wave of sales, Apple said in a September 24 statement.

iPhone debut
Regions included in the initial sales were the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK.

The iPhone, which debuted in 2007, is Apple's biggest product by revenue. It accounted for 51.42 per cent of revenue in the year ended September, according to data.

Apple's global introduction of the iPhone 5 was September 21, and more than 5 million devices were sold in the nine countries and territories that participated in the first wave of sales, the company said September 24. The model is Apple's flagship phone to take on the Galaxy S III produced by Samsung, the Suwon, South Korea-based company that's the world's biggest phonemaker. 

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