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Sunday, December 16, 2012, 05:41 pm PT (08:41 pm ET)

Apple sold 2 million iPhone 5 units in China launch weekend

Sales of the iPhone 5 topped two million units in its first weekend of availability in China, Apple announced Sunday evening.

"Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. "China is a very important market for us and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products."

The iPhone 5 launched in China last Friday, Dec. 14. Apple's latest smartphones will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of December, making it the fastest iPhone rollout ever.

Apple's announcement on Sunday only disclosed sales of the iPhone 5 in China, and did not include the 32 other countries where the iPhone 5 went on sale last Friday.

iPhone 5


Some pundits expressed concern that lines for the iPhone 5 were shorter than usual at Apple's retail stores throughout China. But that was by design, as Apple switched to an online reservation system in response to rampant scalping and incidents of violence during previous product launches.

Signs of a record breaking debut for the iPhone 5 in China came last week, when it was announced that preorders for the handset through carrier China Unicom exceeded 300,000 as of last Monday. In comparison, China Unicom saw 200,000 preorders for the iPhone 4S, suggesting demand is even greater for Apple's latest model.

Availability of the iPhone 5 was also greater than previous models: The iPhone 4S launched only on one carrier, China Unicom, while the iPhone 5 debuted on two, adding China Telecom to the mix.