iPhone 5 breaks China sales record – two million sold in first weekend

Chinese iPhone

There were no reports of riots or brawls, or even of eggs thrown in frustration. It may have been a picture of peace and tranquility outside China’s seven Apple stores this weekend, but the company still managed to sell two million iPhone 5 units during the handset’s launch weekend in the country.

“Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China,” Apple boss Tim Cook said in a statement released Sunday night.

The Chinese market is Apple’s biggest after the US, and one that is of course continuing to grow rapidly.

Following crowd trouble outside a Beijing store on day one of iPhone 4S sales back in January, as well as chaos during the launch of the iPad 2 and white iPhone 4, the Cupertino company was keen to ensure there would be no repeat performance.

To prevent crowds gathering outside stores over the weekend, Apple used a reservation system for those wishing to get their hands on the latest iteration of its popular smartphone. Consumers were required to reserve a device online last week. They were then appointed a time to collect their device at the store. The system appears to have worked a treat.

Selling so many units in the space of just three days suggests any concerns over supply of the phone are now history. Terry Gou, boss of Foxconn, the firm that assembles the device, admitted last month that his company was “falling short of meeting the huge demand.” Factory workers were reportedly finding the handset more difficult to put together compared to previous versions largely because of its lighter, thinner design which required more precision from workers during its assembly. Component shortages also caused problems.

While two million is undoubtedly an impressive figure for first-weekend sales, don’t forget that when the iPhone 5 launched in the US in September, a record five million units were bought in its first weekend. Analysts believe the tech giant could sell as many as 45 million iPhone 5 units worldwide in the current quarter.