Apple’s flagship iPhone 5 first became available to buyers in mid September albeit only in select regions. The phone just made its debut in China late last week and according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, locals purchased 2 million devices during opening weekend. That’s good news for Cupertino as the iPhone traditionally hasn’t had a strong following in the country.
It’s a new record for Apple in China which was led by thousands of online reservations for the handset even before it was available for pick-up. The phone is reportedly available through two different wireless providers: China Telecom and China Unicom. The country’s largest carrier, China Mobile, has yet to start carrying the phone.
China has been on Apple’s radar for some time now as it’s their second biggest market behind the US. The region accounted for roughly 15 percent, or $23.8 billion, of Apple’s revenue for the fiscal year that ended this past September.
Even with 2 million phones moved over the weekend, sales didn’t come close to touching US figures. Apple managed to sell 5 million iPhone 5 handsets when they first launched in the US on September 21. Cupertino’s previous best opening weekend came last year when US consumers purchased 4 million iPhone 4S units.
It is believed that Apple will now move around 47.5 million iPhones this quarter which is a bit higher than earlier estimates of 45 million. The forecast for early next year, however, is down to just 46 million. It is believed that strong sales in China caused the quarterly shift.
Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 5 in more than 100 additional countries by the end of the year, making it the fastest iPhone rollout to date.