News Column

iPhone 5 in China Doesn't Make a Splash

Dec 14, 2012
iPhone 5

Apple's latest iPhone model made a quiet debut in China on Friday amid weak demand and the company's measures to avoid the chaos seen during previous iPhone launches.

Some customers queued on Thursday evening for the midnight launch of iPhone 5 sales at China Telecom and China Unicom stores, but Apple stores required buyers to register online.

There was no queue outside Apple's flagship store in Beijing's Sanlitun commercial district on Friday morning and only about two dozen customers were viewing the phones inside the store.

"We have to do it like this," an Apple sales assistant told dpa, referring to the booking system for customers, which was introduced mainly to stop touts buying the phones.

"Last time with the launch of the iPhone 4, it was very chaotic here," he said.

The store sold the basic iPhone 5 for 5,288 yuan (840 dollars), while a small number of touts outside offered it for up to 500 yuan higher.

Many buyers went to Apple's partners, China Telecom and China Unicom, to take advantage of broadband packages offered with the iPhone 5, state media said.

More than 200 people queued outside one China Telecom store in Shanghai late Thursday, the Shanghai Daily newspaper said.

The newspaper said some 300,000 people had registered with China Unicom to purchase iPhone 5 packages.

Apple ranked only sixth for sales of smart phones in China in the third quarter of this year, with about 7 per cent of total sales, US-based IT research firm IDC reported.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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