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Sorry, Apple - China's just not that into your iPhone 5

Still, 2 million sales in 3 days nothing to sneer at

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Apple sold 2 million iPhone 5s in the three days in China after the device went on official sale on Friday. It's a sales figure that is solid, but will not see buyers in the east Asian country replacing Apple's lucrative markets of Europe and the US in a hurry.

iPhone 5s in China achieved a market penetration that was just 25 per cent of what it managed in Europe and the US.

The iPhone 5 clocked up sales of 5 million in its opening weekend in Europe and America - across a potential customer base of 815 million*.

That means that 0.6 per cent of the population of the US and European Union bought an iPhone 5, an impressive number equivalent to one out of every 166 people.

In China, with a population of 1.3 billion, sales were 2 million. That's a sales figure of 0.15 per cent or one in 667 people.

If you take into account that the average Chinese consumer is a lot less wealthy, it is an impressive figure. But the sales tally does not look like the sort of wondrous, wallet-busting miracle Apple might be looking for. But the Chinese are buying smartphones - just not from Apple at the same rate as Europeans and Americans. That's mainly because they're getting much cheaper local ones instead. Before the iPhone 5 launch, Apple's share of the Chinese smartphone market had slipped to 8 per cent, putting it into sixth place in the country, behind Samsung and cheaper Chinese brands.

That rate will have to bump up significantly if Apple wants to replace lost revenue from a flatlining Europe. ®

*503 million Europeans in the EU plus 312 million in the USA

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