IPhone 5 Sets China Record With 2 Million Sales in Three Days

Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

The iPhone 5. Close

The iPhone 5.

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Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

The iPhone 5.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) 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 Dec. 14 introduction in the country, Apple said in a statement today. 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 Dec. 14 after Steven Milunovich, an analyst at UBS AG 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 Dec. 31, Apple said in today’s statement.

“Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible,” Apple’s Chief Executive Officer 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 Jan. 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 Sept. 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 Sept. 24 statement. Regions included in the initial sales were the U.S, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the U.K.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Edmond Lococo in Beijing at elococo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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