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Apple racks up more than 2 million iPhone 5 sales in China

Apple has announced that it has sold more than two million iPhone 5 handsets in China since its launch there last week.

The iPhone 5 went on sale in China on 13 December through networks China Telecom and China Unicom, though China Mobile, the country's largest mobile network, is still not offering the device. Apple's announcement makes the device China's fastest-selling iPhone.

"Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement.

"China is a very important market for us and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products."

China is Apple's second-largest market, accounting for 15 per cent of the company's revenue for the fiscal year that ended in September. Analysts predict that Apple's long term strategy in the country should be to get China Mobile on board.

However, the sales figures have done little to bolster Apple's share price, which has continued to slide amid worries that it faces stiffer competition in the smartphone market.

Apple shares fell 3.8 per cent on Friday to $509.79 (£314) after the iPhone 5's China debut, while Citi Research downgraded Apple's stock late on Sunday to "neutral" from "buy".