We reported yesterday that Apple has sent out invites for an event on September 10 at its Cupertino headquarters, widely believed to be for the launch of its next iPhone handsets.

Today, Chinese media outlets (one of which is Sina Tech) started reporting that they have received an invitation from Apple for a separate event to be held in Beijing on September 11 at 10 am local time, right after the main event — reportedly the first time ever that Apple has organized such a solo standalone event in the country.

The event invitation that Chinese media have received looks exactly the same as the US one, except the text which is in Chinese. The event will be held at Beijing’s World Trade Center.

917237011 Apple ups focus on China with separate iPhone media event in Beijing on September 11

Apple’s move adds to the credibility of rumors that have been pointing to the introduction of the budget iPhone 5C — and could the C possibly be a codename for China? A lower-priced iPhone would likely be aimed at the Chinese market — the world’s largest smartphone market — where indicators show that mid-market devices tend to do better and where Apple still performs below its potential. In the second quarter of this year, Apple slid to the seventh position in China’s smartphone market as Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi overtook it, according to research firm Canalys.

If the lower-priced iPhone is for real, it would contribute toward start of a new era for the company in China by appealing to consumers who are currently priced out of its flagship phone, and it is little wonder that Apple would want to show its commitment to the country.

Even Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has visited China twice this year to hold talks with China Mobile, the only Chinese operator that does not offer iPhones and iPads, despite being the world’s largest mobile phone operator with over 700 million subscribers.

Image Credit: Wang Zhao via AFP/Getty Images