Skip to main content

An employee cleans an advertisement plate at an Apple dealership on the eve of iPhone 5's release, in Wuhan, Hubei province December 13, 2012.

DARLEY SHEN/Reuters

Apple Inc. sold over 2 million units of its new iPhone 5 in its first weekend on sale in China, a record for the company's smartphone in potentially its biggest market.

The news could provide a much needed boost for shares in Apple when the market opens in New York on Monday. The stock has fallen more than 25 per cent in the past three months partly because of concerns that growth in iPhone and iPad sales will not be sustained.

The iPhone 5 went on sale on Friday in China, online and at Apple's retail store, with the carriers China Unicom and China Telecom also selling the handset.

Story continues below advertisement

"Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China," said Tim Cook, Apple CEO, in a statement.

Apple did not release comparable three-day sales figures for the iPhone 4S, the 5's predecessor, which went on sale in January. The iPhone 4 went on sale in China in September 2010, before its online store opened that October and China Telecom began supporting the iPhone in the first quarter of this year.

China Mobile, the largest carrier in China with nearly 700m subscribers and a 65 per cent market share, does not currently support the iPhone, but analysts expect Apple to strike a deal with the carrier by late 2013.

Analysts at UBS had said that some of their Chinese sources did not expect the iPhone 5 to do as well as the 4S. There was no queue outside Apple's Shanghai store when it opened on Friday.

But China Unicom reported more than 300,000 online reservations for the phone earlier this month, with the city of Beijing along with Guangdong and Shandong provinces leading demand, ahead of Shanghai.

Apple shipped around 3.3m iPhones into China in the third quarter, according to Gartner, a technology research company, down from 5.7m in the first quarter.

Analysts at Stifel Nicolaus expect Apple to ship 49m iPhones globally this quarter. Apple says the iPhone 5, launched on September 21, will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of December - its fastest ever rollout.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies