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Despite a somewhat tepid reception last year for an earlier version of the iPhon e, customers in China turned out in force Saturday to try to get their hands on the latest incarnation, the iPhone 4, as it made its debut in the country. According to various reports, more than 1,000 people mobbed the new Apple Store in Beijing's Joy City shopping mall Saturday, and carrier China Unicom said it h ad taken almost 50,000 preorders for the device in one day. That compares with a mere 5,000 iPhones sold last year during the first weekend that the earlier ver sion of the gadget was available in China. On a faster boat to China. (Credit: Apple) That version was 3G only, with Wi-Fi disabled because of Chinese regulations prohibiting gadgets that don't use the country's WAPI (Wired Authen tication and Privacy Infrastructure) wireless standard. The iPhone 4, however, h as been made Wi-Fi-ready for the Chinese market--Apple having acquired a network access license in the country in July. The price, too, has come down. A 16GB iPhone 4 is selling for about $743 and the 32GB version for about $892 without a contract at Apple Stores in China, the co mpany said on Monday. (The phone will also be available through China Unicom wit h a two-year contract at prices Apple did not detail.) Last year's iPhone 3--WiFi-less in China--went on sale in the country at about $732 for an 8GB model and about $1,025 for a 32GB version. Apple is no doubt pleased by the seeming uptick in iPhone love among the Chinese --the country is the world's largest mobile market. The company opened two new A pple Stores there Saturday, according to an item in The Wall Street Journal: the Joy City location, and another across town at a mall called The Village. That d oubles the number of Apple's Chinese retail outlets. The company plans to open 2 5 Apple Stores in China by the end of next year, the Journal said. Apple also be gan selling its iPad in the country on September 17. Still, there's a ways to go. When the iPhone 4 debuted in the United States earl ier this year, it sold, according to Apple, 1.7 million units in three days, the company's most successful product launch ever. And Apple was only the fifth-lar gest smartphone seller in China as of the second quarter of this year, according to figures quoted by the Journal. Nokia held the top spot. On a side note, Apple may be able to duck iPhone 4 "Antennagate" issues in China --China Unicom said last month that the device would be sold with a free case th ere. .Edward Moyer has been editing on and off for CNET since the days of the CD-ROM. Topics: iPhone, iPad Tags: Apple, iPhone, smartphones, China, iPad Share: DiggDel.icio.usRedditYahoo! Buzz FacebookTwitter Recent posts from Apple

Apple makes progress with Ping Great wall of customers greets iPhone 4 in China The best iPad ad (not made by Apple) Apple looks to patent new flash system Target to begin selling iPad in October Analyst: Apple grabs huge chunk of phone profits Verizon CEO casts doubt on getting iPhone Apple No. 1 in smartphone satisfaction survey Related Apple to begin selling iPhone 4 in China iPad heading to China on Friday Analyst: Apple grabs huge chunk of phone profits Ask Maggie: On iPhone upgrades and reception issues Nokia vows to take on iOS, Android Analyst: iPhone 5 has 4G aspirations How the iPhone could get to Verizon Is Nokia's CEO shuffle too little too late? Add a Comment (Log in or register) (18 Comments) prev next .by Shane39199 September 25, 2010 4:52 PM PDT because god knows if they dont like it they WONT buy it unlike here in the U.S S teve jobs sells a defective product.says its users fault.and temporarily fixes t he problem on a small scale of free cases for a limited time. and how many milli ons is he still making.every morning when he wakes up lol.... my rant is over. Like this Reply to this comment 3 people like this comment . by stargazerCT September 25, 2010 6:35 PM PDT Wow, it's easy to sum-up someone like yourself...MORON!!!! As an Apple sharehold er all I have to say is one word--Chachinggg$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! Like this 1 person likes this comment . by dansterpower September 25, 2010 9:40 PM PDT The iPhone works great. The antenna debacle was created by the media in search o f clicks and ratings during the slow summer season. Don't be a sheeple. Think. Like this .by CupertinoBill September 25, 2010 5:06 PM PDT Steve only makes a dollar a year Shane. You sure seem like a nice person and I b et you have lots of friends you can tell about your hatred of a man you don't ev en know. Steve never says anything bad about you, BTW. Oh, and God is capitalize d by adults. Like this Reply to this comment 3 people like this comment . Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20017642-37.html#ixzz10c7kj1v0

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