Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is set to launch the iPhone 5 in Greater China on Friday, at least to customers of the country’s second largest phone carrier, China Unicom Limited (NYSE:CHU). According to the telecom company’s official Sina Weibo blog (via Macworld), 300,000 customers have already preordered Apple’s newest smartphone, with the greatest demand coming from the cities of Beijing and Shanghai, in addition to the Guangdong and Shandong provinces.
According to a translation by Macworld, “74 percent of the reservations are coming from males, while only 26 percent are from females […] 52 percent of the reservations are from those aged 20 to 30 years old. Another 34 percent are from those aged 30 to 40 years. In addition, the vast majority of the reservations, at 85 percent, want the 16 GB model.” It’s also reported that China Unicom is selling the 16 GB device near a price of 5,300 yuan, which is close to $850.
Interestingly, the current preorder total is estimated to be 50% larger than the number of preorders China Unicom received for the iPhone 4 in 2010, but it’s worth noting that technical errors prevented the entirety of the telecom’s 200-plus million users from ordering the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) device that year.
While these numbers still don’t give us a great gauge to determine if demand for the iPhone 5 is greater than its predecessors, we can see that with a user base over three times the size of China Unicom, China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) has 1 million-preorder potential.
Though Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has no plans to provide China’s largest telecom with its iPhone just yet, both sides are still rumored to be in talks, that are hung up over some form of profit-sharing (see Apple Falls, Is China Mobile to Blame?). With close to 70% of the country’s mobile phone users, it’s clear to investors that China Mobile is the proverbial “big fish” here, as AAPL shares haven’t really risen in anticipation of China Unicom’s iPhone 5 launch.
We’ll continue to watch the smartphone’s preorder numbers closely over the next few days, and in the meantime, check back at Insider Monkey for any updates on this situation.