After Apple announced late last week that the iPhone 5 is coming to China on December 14, China Unicom, the country’s second-largest wireless operator, began taking reservations on Monday, quickly receiving 100,000 online pre-orders, Sina Tech reports.
A flood of orders came in by 4pm local time. China Unicom didn’t charge money for the reservations, instead requiring an ID card and other personal information to reserve orders for the first day.
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Meanwhile, China Telecom, which began selling Apple’s smartphone on its network earlier this year with the release of the iPhone 4S, reportedly received 5,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 5 on Sunday. In fact, local China Telecom branches have been taking reservations for the device for weeks, even before the official release date had been announced.
Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed during the company’s last earnings call that the iPhone would arrive in China by the end of the year. With next week, he’s lived up to his promise, and is even doing one better by releasing the iPad mini this Friday.
Beyond China, the iPhone 5 is set to arrive in more than 50 additional markets this month. Apple’s iPhone rollout this year has been its most aggressive yet, and the company is poised to hit its goal of reaching 100 countries with the iPhone 5 by the end of this year.
The last few iPhone releases in China have been marred with difficulties due to an elaborate network of scalpers. The implementation of a reserve and pick-up system helped keep things calm during the release of the iPad 3 earlier this year, and Chinese Apple Stores will presumably keep the same system in place for upcoming launches.
Currently, there are seven official retail stores in mainland China, in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, though the company is planning to build many more. It’s most recent Beijing store, located in the historic Wangfujing shopping district, is the largest of its kind in Asia.