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The iPhone SE is an early hit, as pre-orders hit 3.4 million in China

While the iPhone SE probably won’t be as popular as the larger iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, it probably won’t be a flop either. It appears Chinese consumers are craving the smaller 4-inch phone as pre-orders are strong ahead of its March 31 debut.

Apple hasn’t released official pre-order numbers, but CNBC did its own investigation. The news channel looked at the pre-orders from three retailing sites and found the total to be 3.4 million. Also not surprisingly, the Rose Gold and Gold color options are the most popular.

Related: Small is the new big: The iPhone SE is going to make compact cool again

This is good news for Apple as the company really wants to make a splash in emerging markets. However, pundits don’t think the phone will be so successful in China. A unofficial distributor in Henan Province said “the new iPhone SE has no revolutionary update.”

Unofficial vendors like these are used to selling a newly released iPhone for as much as $300 over the regular price, but not this time around. He went on to say that demand probably won’t be as strong as for the iPhone 6 and 6S, and noted that the phone is already being offering for at $20 less than the official $505 price tag in China. Another vendor is already pricing it $100 below.

Apple’s play here might not just be about price, as a Piper Jaffray survey late last year showed 20.3 percent of consumers prefer a 4-inch iPhone. It’s doubtful that Apple expects the iPhone SE to set the world on fire, but it probably knows that a certain amount of its customer base will appreciate it. Are you one of them? Sound off in the comments.