The iPhone 4 went on sale today in China and the launch was greeted with an enthusiastic crowd of Apple customers. Large crowds and long lines converged upon Apple locations in the Asian country, including the new stores in Beijing and Shanghai. The 32GB iPhone 4 is available from Apple without a contract for 5,999 yuan ($893), while the 16GB model is available for 4,999 yuan ($744). Apple’s latest smartphone will also be sold with a contract at a subsidized price set by China Unicom, the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in China.
Sales of the handset are expected to outpace its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS, which launched last November with disappointing results. In contrast to other countries which reportedly sold millions of units within 24 hours, sales of the 3GS in China reached a disappointing 5,000 units within three days. These lagging sales resulted from an extraordinarily high price tag ($1,025) and the lack of WiFi, which Apple crippled to meet government mandates requiring devices with WiFi to support the WAPI standard.
Thus far, the iPhone 4 has grabbed the hearts and the pocket books of the Chinese people. China Unicom estimates that pre-orders for Apple’s smartphone topped out at 50,000 and thousands of people reportedly waited in line for up to two days to buy this hot, new handset. Adding to its popularity, this latest model fro China comes in with a lower price tag and offers full WiFi, thanks to less stringent government standards that were loosened earlier this year. While we wait for the actual sales number to come out early next week, we all can enjoy a quick video of the Chinese iPhone launch courtesy of IDG.