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Wednesday, September 29, 2010, 11:40 pm PT (02:40 am ET)

China Unicom iPhone 4 sales hit 100K in first four days

Sales of the iPhone 4 by China Unicom hit 100,000 in the first four days of availability. Another 100,000 customers will have to wait until as late as the end of October for their preorders to be fulfilled.

China Unicom announced the figures Tuesday, the People's Daily reports. First day shipments exceeded 40,000 units, with the total reaching 100,000 within the first few days after launch.

Chinese demand for the iPhone 4 has been greater than expected. According to China Unicom, over 200,000 customers preordered the smartphone in the week leading up to the launch. The 100,000 customers who preordered the iPhone and have yet to receive it should get their phones by the end of next month, China Unicom said.

Apple and China Unicom have built upon last year's launch. "The sales of previous versions of iPhones created a solid foundation for the explosive performance of the iPhone 4 this year," China Unicom senior vice-president Li Gang said.

In the first week after the initial iPhone launch in 2009, China Unicom signed up just 5,000 iPhone customers.

Heavy subsidies of the iPhone 4 may be driving sales. According to a China Unicom press release (Google Translation), customers who sign up for the 16GB iPhone 4 with a 2-year contract and a 286RMB ($43) monthly plan will pay nothing for the phone.

Last week, thousands of fans lined up outside Apple's Chinese retail stores eager to purchase the new handset.

Apple did not respond to a request for the iPhone 4's sales figures from Apple's four stores in China.