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

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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.

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.