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Sunday, September 26, 2010, 09:30 am PT (12:30 pm ET)

iPhone 4 demand outstrips supply in China

Early demand for the iPhone 4 in China has outpaced initial supply as China Unicom struggles to fulfill the over 200,000 preorders it received last week.

China Unicom announced Sunday that it was having trouble meeting demand, according to a MarketWatch report. This year's iPhone 4 launch in China is an impressive turnaround from last year's muted launch. The official launch of the iPhone in October 2009 saw just 5,000 buyers in the first week after launch.

Apple promised more shipments in the near future. "More iPhones will be available soon and customers should check back with their local store or online for updates on availability," Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said, according to MarketWatch.

In a statement Sunday, China Unicom said it had sold 60,000 (Google Translation) units on the first day of availability after receiving over 200,000 preorders.

Over 40,000 of the sales went to individual customers, and an additional 10,000 went to direct distribution bulk orders. China Unicom began taking preorders for the smartphone on September 17 at 10 a.m, the same day the iPad went on sale in China.

Outside Apple's new Xidan Joy City retail store in Beijing, over a thousand fans lined up Saturday to purchase the iPhone 4.