Sales of Apple’s popular iPhone 5 kicked off in China and 32 other countries on Friday, as the company continues its fastest rollout ever.
As noted by The Next Web, the usual long lines seen at past Apple product launches in China were staunched, largely in thanks to the combination of a snow storm and the preorder system instituted by the country’s two official partner carriers.
At the Sanlitun Apple Store workers were seen standing around, waiting to greet the customer rush that never materialized. The lack of walk-in traffic is thought to be related to the strong pre-sales numbers reported, such as the report that China Unicom has 300,000 preorders in the days before the launch.
China is Apple’s second largest market, and has the world’s largest base of mobile subscribers. The iOS device maker has arrangements with China Unicom and China Telecom, but has been able to come to an agreement with China Mobile. While talks with the world’s largest carrier have been rumored to have been going on for years, and China Mobile’s president recently acknowledged the talks, Apple has yet to come to an agreement to tap the carriers vast pool of users.
In addition to China, the device also launched in the following countries on Friday:
Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
The iPhone 5 is scheduled to debut in more than 50 countries in the month of December, with a new wave of releases set for a week from today.