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Sunday, September 19, 2010, 07:30 pm PT (10:30 pm ET)

iPhone 4 to launch in China on Sept. 25, 2 new stores to open

Apple announced Sunday that the iPhone 4 will be available in China starting Saturday, September 25 at 8 a.m. The launch will coincide with the openings of the Hong Kong Plaza Apple Store in Shanghai and the Xidan Joy City Apple Store in Beijing.

Apple issued the press release Sunday, announcing that it would effectively double its brick-and-mortar presence in China on Sept. 25.

The Cupertino, Calif., company announced earlier this year that it plans to build 25 retail stores in China in the next two years.

At Apple's retail stores, the iPhone 4 will start at CNY4,999 (about $743) for the 16 GB model and will not require a contract. A two-year contract is required for customers who purchase the handset through China Unicom.

According to the Wall Street Journal, users who buy through China Unicom will have to pay CNY5,880 (about $874) for the iPhone 4 and a deposit for the two-year contract.

Apple's press release did not mention whether iPhone 4 purchasers will receive a free case, as previously rumored.

Next week's iPhone 4 launch comes just a week after the successful launch of the iPad in China. Apple fans lined up outside the Shanghai and Beijing Apple stores, with some waiting as long as 60 hours for the tablet device.

iPad fans waiting to get in