Apple Inc's iPhone 5 smartphones draw attention from residents in Haikou, Hainan province, on Dec 14. [Photo/China Daily]
China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd, one of China's largest mobile operators, said it contributed the biggest share of iPhone 5 sales in the country during the first three-day after the gadget's debut.
Since the iPhone 5 launch on Dec 14 on the mainland, the Apple product was strongly welcomed by domestic consumers, Lu Yimin, the company president, told a press briefing on Friday in Hong Kong.
Apple announced on December 17 that it had sold more than 2 million iPhone 5 smartphones on the Chinese mainland since its launch there.
"Of the total iPhone 5 sales in the country in the first three days, China Unicom has contributed the largest share," said Lu, adding that he believes that the company is still in the leading position, in terms of iPhone 5 sales.
Currently, iPhone 5 distributors in the country include China Unicom (Hong Kong), China Telecom Corp Ltd and some other retailers.
Statistics show that more than 300,000 units of China Unicom's iPhone 5 were ordered online, Lu said.
"I can assure you that aside from the iPhone 5 online orders, we also sold over 300,000 units (via our shops, stores and counters)."
Lu said that the company's iPhone 5 subsidy is less than for the iPhone 4S.
"Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a record with the best first weekend sales ever on the mainland," Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said earlier in a statement.
In November, China Unicom said that it plans to pay 12.2 billion yuan ($1.96 billion) to its parent company for the fixed-line assets in 21 southern Chinese cities and provinces.
Its chief financial officer Li Fushen said on Friday that the acquisition is expected to boost China Unicom's net profits.
"We expect that our net profit in 2012 to increase by 200 million to 300 million yuan due to the acquisition," said Li.
Li stressed that China Unicom's cash in hand as well as its bank credit will be enough to pay for the acquisition, and the company has no fund raising plans.
Merrill Lynch said in a research report that the acquisition is expected to boost the company's net profit by 340 million yuan in 2013 and 460 million yuan in 2014, accounting for up to 2.7 percent of its net profit in each year.