By Henry Williams and Beth Main.
The Beijing launch of the iPhone 4S
With the iPhone 5 approved for sale in the country just a few days ago, China Unicom – the world’s third-biggest mobile provider – has taken 100,000 pre-orders for the device in just 24 hours.
The company requires only a name and ID card to make the reservation. China Telecom also began taking pre-orders last week, but reported just 5,000 pre-orders.
Until now, the main flow of iPhones in to China has been a particularly grey one, with organised groups purchasing in bulk through Hong Kong’s Apple stores.
The phone is expected to be available from December 14th. The 16 gigabyte model is priced at 5,288 RMB, 17% more than Hong Kong (though, this is due to value added tax).
On it’s original launch date back in September, Apple received well over 2 million orders in it’s first day. So, while this is relatively a small drop in a very big ocean, it’s pretty impressive for two providers in a single country.
Fingers are also poised over pre-order buttons in Taiwan where the iPhone 5 will be launched on the 14th at the same time as in China, Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil and the Philippines. Tech insiders say that the highly anticpated ‘iPad mini with Wi-Fi’ will also be available to the Taiwanese market on the 14th.
Taiwan’s telecom carriers are already preparing their preorder mechanisms for the rush, although Apple will continue to face strong competition from HTC which is always popular in its home market of Taiwan.