Apple iPhone 4 demand exceeds supply as China Unicom nearly sells a quarter million handsets

Image showing the backside of an Apple iPhone 4

Image showing the backside of an Apple iPhone 4

Word out of China on Sunday suggests the iPhone 4 is flying off the shelves and China Unicom is struggling to meet demand. According to the Wall Street Journal, China’s #2 wireless carrier sold up to 240,000 iPhones yesterday with a total of 200,000 pre-orders and 40,000 in-store purchases. This number contrasts sharply with the iPhone 3GS launch back in November of 2009. China Unicom sold a mere 5,000 units in the first weekend of sales and climbed slowly to meet the 100,000 units sold milestone a long six weeks after launch.

While the 240,000 figure may seem comparatively low (Apple sold 1.5 million in one day in the US), these figures are from China Unicom sales only. It does not take into account the number of handsets purchased directly from Apple, nor those iPhones obtained thorough China’s lucrative grey market, an off-the-record number that you must include if you want an accurate representation of China’s demand for the iPhone 4.

China Unicom did not provide details on the upcoming supply of the iPhone 4, but Apple promised it was working hard to get handsets into China as soon as possible. This is good news for Apple, the iPhone’s popularity in China has propelled the smartphone vendor to the #5 spot in the Asian country, an impressive position for a handset that has been on sale for less than a year in the world’s largest mobile phone market.

[Via Wall Street Journal]

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