China Unicom is the second-largest wireless carrier in China and it opened up pre-sale reservations for Apple’s iPhone 5 on Monday. On the first day of availability, the company saw over 100,000 pre-orders for the newest iPhone ahead of its official launch in China on December 14.
The numbers came in at 4p.m. on Tuesday local time in China, less than a day after China Unicom started pre-order sales. China Telecom’s subsidiary, Beijing Telecom, received more than 5,000 orders on Sunday when it opened up iPhone 5 sales.
Earlier on Monday, Apple announced it was planning to launch the iPhone 5 in more than 50 countries throughout December as part of the company’s fastest device release. Apple has been involved in the country’s approval process for about a month and finally received the final network license last week.
China’s smartphone market is important for Apple and as of September it held about a 15 percent share of it. The iPhone has yet to crack the subscriber base, though, which is held by the world’s largest carrier, China Mobile. China Mobile announced in March that over 15 million iPhones were in operations on its network even though it’s not actually an Apple partner.
For the December 14 launch, China Unicom didn’t require people pre-ordering the iPhone to put money down. Instead, they’re requiring an ID card and a telephone number verification system that will help to avoid issues experienced during other Apple product launches.
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