Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

A not-so-quiet weekend for Apple in China and Taiwan

December 16, 2012: 1:43 PM ET

Two noisy store openings and reports of "robust" iPhone 5 sales from local carriers

Hong Kong

Opening day at Hong Kong's Causeway Bay Apple Store

FORTUNE -- Maybe China's "Apple fever" hasn't broken quite yet.

Reports of low turnout and videos of nearly empty Apple Stores for the launch of the iPhone 5 in China helped drive Apple's (AAPL) share price in New York to a 10-month low Friday.

But a report Saturday in Shanghai Daily suggested that the media was watching the wrong stores. Traffic may have been light at the Apple retail outlets that were selling only unsubsidized  iPhones (i.e. starting at US $846), but Apple's partners were having a field day selling the iPhone 5 under contract for as little as US $96. In addition to the 300,000 pre-orders racked up last week by China Unicom (CHU) -- up 50% from the 200,000 it took for the 4S last January -- the carrier sold 5,000 more before Friday noon in Shanghai alone. China Telecom (CHA), for its part, expected to sell 10,00 units in Shanghai by the end of the day Friday.

Market watchers described the city's sales as "robust."

Across the Taiwan Strait in Taipei, Taiwan's three mobile carriers -- Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), Taiwan Mobile (TWM) and Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET) -- also drew long lines, according to the video report filed by MHz Worldview below.

Meanwhile there was no shortage of enthusiasm -- at least among the seemingly endless lines of red-shirted staffers -- at Apple Store openings in Hong Kong and Chengdu.

See videos below.

Hong Kong:

Chengdu:

Taiwan:

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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