iPhone 5 sales in China surpass 2 million in first weekend

With millions of people in China snapping up Apple's latest smartphone, a sales record is set for the Far East country.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
Apple's iPhone 5. CNET

It's been just three days since Apple's iPhone 5 launch in China and already 2 million devices have already been sold. The tech giant announced today that this latest model of its popular smartphone is selling faster than ever in the Far East country.

"Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. "China is a very important market for us and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products."

The iPhone 5 went on sale on Thursday in China and even before people could get their hands on the smartphone, hundreds of thousands of online reservations were already made for the device. The device is available through carriers China Telecom and China Unicom and, as of now, it's still not being offered on China Mobile -- the country's largest carrier.

China is of huge significance for Apple, it is the company's second biggest market -- after the U.S. -- and already accounted for about 15 percent ($23.8 billion) of the company's revenue for its fiscal year that ended in September.

When the iPhone 5 first launched in the U.S. in September, its sales topped 5 million units over first weekend -- which was a million higher than the iPhone 4S. According to analysts at investment bank Canaccord Genuity, it is expected that Apple will sell 47.5 million iPhones in the current quarter, up from its prior forecast for 45 million. However, estimates for the first quarter of 2013 have been slightly lowered -- now 46 million instead of 47.5 million -- as the earlier-than-expected China launch is most likely pulling sales into this quarter.

Besides China, the iPhone 5 will also be on sale in more than 100 other countries by the end of the month. According to Apple, this makes the iPhone 5 the fastest iPhone rollout ever.