After a slow start -- and a flood of gray market devices -- official sales gather momentum
It took China Unicom (CHU), Apple's official Chinese carrier, 40 days to sell its first 100,000 iPhones and less than 20 to reach 300,000.
"The Unicom iPhone Express has steadily picked up speed and is now steaming down the tracks," wrote Butterfield.
The acceleration in sales follows a high-profile advertising campaign and a 46-city iPhone roadshow and education campaign launched last week.
Apple and Unicom have not had an easy time getting a foothold in the world's largest cellphone market (nearly 720 million subscribers). Not only are they competing against gray-market and counterfeit iPhones that may number in the millions, but the device they are selling is perceived as "crippled." In order to comply with government restrictions on high-speed Internet devices, the Apple had to build a version of the iPhone for the Chinese market that doesn't have a Wi-Fi chip.
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]
Apple airs its first Chinese-language ads as reports of retailer intimidation emerge
Supplementing print advertisements like the one at right, the first Apple-produced iPhone ads appeared on Chinese TV over the weekend.
They come on the heels of the device's somewhat sluggish start last month in the world's largest mobile phone market (more than 720 million subscribers).
Apple's (AAPL) local carrier, China Unicom (CHU), reported signing up only 5,000 new subscribers in the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 22, 2009 3:18 PM ET
iPhoneAsia's Dan Butterfield takes readers on a tour of China's electronics jungle
"There's no room for the meek," writes Dan Butterfield in a dispatch from Beijing's Zhongguancun-region electronics malls.
"Picture four or five Manhattan-sized Macy's department stores filled to the rafters with electronics outlets and sundry other goods. Untold thousands of shoppers fill these stores each day. From the moment you walk in the door (if you look like money or are MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 17, 2009 8:31 AM ET
|Regulators pave way for Internet "fast lane" with net neutrality rules|
|What stumps Warren Buffett? Minimum wage|
|Apple shares soar on increased buyback|
|Facebook profit triples on mobile growth|
|Thanks to Obamacare, more workers may quit their jobs|