Apple Store Sanitlun, which proves to be the largest retail business in China, had its staff bustling to accommodate customers who never came.
It was a major contrast with the launch of the iPhone 4S in the country 11 months ago, when a massive crowd of a hundred people gathered in front of the same store in the Sanlitun district of Beijing.
But there may be various reasons for this apparent weak turnout, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says.
He says Apple’s new reservation system allowed customers to reserve the device online rather than wait in line to purchase it.
Increased distribution of the handset is another reason as Apple has almost twice as many points of sale for the iPhone 5 as it did for the iPhone 4S.
In addition, the iPhone 5 is available on two carriers – China Telecom and China Unicom – not one, as it was the case with its predecessor.
The analyst estimates sales of 45 million iPhones in the December quarter, with between 4 million and 5 million from China.