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Apple launches iPhone 5 in China

The iPhone 5 has now arrived in China, Apple’s second-largest market, with customers able to purchase their smartphones on the Apple online store, through Apple-approved resellers or by reservation from Apple retail stores.

The launch marked a stark contrast from the arrival of the iPhone 4S earlier this year, which saw an impatient crowd pelt eggs at store windows. Apple’s Saniltun Village retail outlet in Beijing was hit by a snowstorm, reducing potential crowd numbers. But this hasn’t affected sales too badly; China Unicom, the smartphone's primary operator, reported online pre-orders to the tune of 300,000 earlier this week.

Apple’s signature mobile will retail for RMB 5,288 (£526), which is a mark-up on Hong Kong’s pricing of HK$5,588 (£448), thanks to local electronics import tax rates.

The launch holds some significance for Apple, as China accounted for 15 per cent of its revenue this past fiscal year. The country is also set to become the world's largest mobile market by the end of the year. However, Apple still has a ways to go in capitalising on the region’s potential user base, as the iPhone 4S dropped out of the top five in smartphone sales earlier this month.