FORTUNE -- Maybe China's "Apple fever" hasn't broken quite yet.
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.
Apple's roll-out reaches deeper into Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East
FORTUNE -- The fastest roll-out yet of an iOS device picked up pace this week as Apple (AAPL) prepared to launch the new iPad in 23 countries Friday and seven more on Saturday.
The longest lines are likely to be in Brazil, where Apple and Foxconn have set up local assembly plants to avoid that country's steep import taxes. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 11, 2012 7:30 AM ET
Fresh details of the subterfuge emerge in a U.S. lawsuit. Apple doesn't deny any of it.
Here's how Apple (AAPL) allegedly got Proview International Holdings to sell them the iPad trademark 35 days before Steve Jobs unveiled the device at a San Francisco press conference.
Apple hired a British firm called Farncombe International and its managing director, Graham Robinson, to be its secret agent.
Robinson created a British shell company called IP Application Development Limited ("IPAD MORE
A Taiwanese impersonator brings out the worst in Apple's critics and fans
It's hard to say which is worse, the tasteless appropriation of Steve Jobs' trademark jeans and black turtleneck -- with added halo and angel wings -- to hawk a technology he famously dismissed as "shit," or the kinds of things people are saying to one another on YouTube, where the Taiwanese TV ad at the center of the storm MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 3, 2012 6:34 AM ET
Apple seems to be controlling inventory, not reacting to a slow-down in sales
Apple's (AAPL) stock price fell sharply last week after some confused reports out of China and Taiwan regarding the company's communications with its supply chain. The first report was that Apple had cut back orders 10% to 15% on parts for the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S because, according to Taipei-based DigiTimes, "sales of the iPhone 4S MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 17, 2011 10:30 AM ET
Bodes well for Friday's launch in 15 countries -- and maybe mainland China by December
Ticonderoga's Brian White, who has been keeping as close tabs on Apple's (AAPL) prospects in China as any Western analyst, reported Monday that pre-orders for the iPhone 4S ended almost as soon as they began in China last Friday.
According to his checks, pre-orders were sold out in Hong Kong 10 minutes after Apple started taking them. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 7, 2011 10:24 AM ET
An analyst expects Apple to launch both an iPhone 5 and a mid-range iPhone 4S
For much of the spring, the reporters who cover Apple (AAPL) have been arguing among themselves about what to call the new iPhone they expect the company to introduce in September.
Some call it the iPhone 5, to match the iOS 5 operating system Apple unveiled to developers three weeks ago.
Some, anticipating that the new device will MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 27, 2011 7:15 AM ET
Much smoke and confusion in Chengdu, China. Apple shares take a hit
At 7:20 p.m. local time Friday, according to preliminary reports out of China, an explosion struck a Foxconn plant in Chengdu that produces iPad 2s for Apple (AAPL).
The Chinese website M.I.C. Gadget passed along this first-hand report:
Ji Qing Ling's weibo said: "the explosion occurred in the A05, at 7 pm, the explosion caused many materials casted out from the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 20, 2011 11:52 AM ET
Its own audit found toxic chemicals, underage workers, bribery and falsified records
"Foxconn is not a sweatshop," Steve Jobs told the audience at All Things Digital last June, speaking of the world's largest electronics manufacturer and Apple's (AAPL) primary supplier of iPhones, iPads, iPods and Macs.
But the company's 2011 Supplier Responsibility progress report, issued earlier this week, found plenty of room for improvement in its extensive Asian supply chain. In first-time MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 16, 2011 1:29 PM ET
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