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iPhone off to a sluggish start in China

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Last week, China Unicom officially unveiled Chinese editions of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. As we reported earlier this month, the Unicom-powered iPhones are the first batch of Apple’s best-selling devices to legally hit the world’s most populous country. (Black and gray market iPhones have existed in China for some time.) So how did the first couple days of sales go?

Badly. According to Reuters, China Unicom has signed up only 5,000 iPhone subscribers since the launch, which is well below most optimistic estimates. In a conversation with Reuters, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster called the figures a “disappointment," and said he had predicated 30,000 units might be sold.

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