Mobile game designer surnamed Su had spent more than five hours by 11:30pm last night waiting in the queue in front of a China Telecom outlet in Shanghai, waiting for the debut of iPhone 5 at midnight.
Su was at the head of the queue which had more than 200 Apple fans, who were waiting in the rainy winter night for the latest iPhone 5.
It was the first time that new iPhone sales started at midnight in a dozen outlets of China Telecom and China Unicom, Apple's carrier partners on the Chinese mainland.
"I like the new iPhone 5, with super mobility and enhanced chip providing fast response," Su said.
He came to the outlet around 6pm and planned to buy a black 32GB iPhone 5 for himself and a 16GB model for his girlfriend.
The iPhone 5 features a 4-inch Retina display with 18 percent more pixels, a quicker new A6 chip and a camera sporting a new panorama function.
The smartphone sells from 5,288 yuan (US$840) for a 16GB model, 6,088 yuan for 32GB and 6,888 yuan for 64GB without contracts. China Telecom sells the phone with a monthly package starting from 49 yuan while China Unicom is offering it with a monthly rate starting from 66 yuan.
China Unicom also started sales in several outlets, including the flagship store in Lujiazui in the Pudong New Area. At least 300,000 people have booked the new iPhone 5 through the telco's website and hotline.
Apple will officially start sales of iPhone 5 without contracts in its three local stores at 7am today, according to the company.
Customers can't buy an iPhone 5 without reservation due to Apple's new online reservation system.
China is now the company's second-biggest regional market behind the US.
Zhang Junjie, a real estate sales agent, aimed to buy the iPhone 5 from China Telecom because of the discounted broadband services.
He was eying a 32GB black iPhone 5 with a monthly package of 189 yuan, which will bring him discount of 120 yuan monthly on home broadband services.
The "fusion package," which combines the iPhone 5 and broadband services, is China Telecom's unique advantage, said Zhu Yan, marketing manager of the telco's Shanghai branch.
It was the first time for China Telecom to bundle the iPhone and broadband services, Zhu said.
Even if Apple has many fans, the market share of iPhone is limited in China, the world's biggest mobile phone market.
At the end of the third quarter, Apple's share was only 7 percent, ranking No. 6 in the domestic market behind Samsung and Lenovo, according to IDC, a US-based IT research firm.