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Apple trumpets 2M iPhone 5 sales in China

Gregg Keizer | Dec. 18, 2012
Apple today said it has sold 2 million iPhone 5 smartphones in China since Friday, setting an opening weekend sales record for the country.

As for today's announcement being the first ever for China, White also had an explanation for that.

"They've never had the [sales] volume to justify putting out a press release for China," said White. "My general rule is that it has to be over a million. There are not that many countries that can sell that many in three days. The U.S. can. And China."

White also noted that the timing was aimed at China, not investors in the U.S. Apple issued the press release at 8 p.m. ET Sunday, or 9:00 a.m. Monday in Beijing. "They wanted to create some buzz in China," White said.

Carolina Milanesi of Gartner took White's side in the debate. "I don't think this is a desperate-measure marketing attempt," she said in an email reply to questions.

Instead, Milanesi saw other factors at play.

"It seems that the deal with China Mobile is close, so this would show the potential that would have on Apple," Milanesi said. While Apple has China Unicom and China Telecom as its two PRC carrier partners, it has not yet signed up China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier. China Mobile has an estimated 700 million wireless subscribers.

"It also shows the potential of growth outside of mature markets," Milanesi added of Apple's chances of replicating its China model in other developing countries. "They had stated that China is their testing ground to some extent."

Greater China generated $23.8 billion, or 17% of all Apple sales for the company's 2012 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 29 2012.


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