According to initial reports from Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Apple's stock of iPhone 4S allocated for preorders in Hong Kong sold out in 10 minutes. Apple began the preordering Friday in China and 14 other countries.
Ticonderoga's Brian White, an analyst specializing in Apple's business in China, reported that the window to reserve an iPhone 4S in China was short and sweet and that long lines are expected for this Friday's brick-and-mortar launch in Hong Kong, despite the fact that Siri is not yet operational in Cantonese or Mandarin.
Though many tech gurus here in the U.S. were unsatisfied with the iPhone 4S launch (most were hoping for a redesigned body and 4G), Apple's latest mobile device is proving to be its most successful to date. Clearly the consumer ideal in China is following suit.
White noted that China could be Apple's best growth opportunity. "Apple generated $4.5 billion in revenue (up 270 percent year over year) from Greater China--16 percent of total sales compared with 2 percent in fiscal 2009."
Preorders in other countries seem to be following in Hong Kong's footsteps; the Korean Daily News has reported that more than 200,000 reservations were made for the iPhone 4S, compared with the 130,000 for last year's iPhone 4. The demand was so sharp that the SK Telecom and KT sites crashed during the launch.