updated 12:28 am EST, Fri December 14, 2012
More countries will see release by the end of December
Sales of the iPhone 5 have commenced in China with subdued crowds on hand, numbers minimized by the presale of nearly 400,000 phones in the weeks leading up to the launch. Due to a local electronics import tax, the iPhone 5 costs more in China than in other Pacific Rim countries -- the 16GB version retails for $850, as opposed to $721 in Hong Kong, which may explain the relatively smaller crowds and lineups as the long-awaited device debuts.
China is an area of great interest for Apple. This week finally sees the launch of the iPhone 5 after numerous regulatory issues, and last week the iPad mini began sales. Overall, China is responsible for 15 percent of Apple's revenue, according to figures from the last fiscal year.
The launch at one Beijing Apple reseller's store was marred by an unsuccessful break-in attempt. Just before dawn, a miscreant broke a store window and crawled into the store, but set off the alarm on the way to the store inventory. Reportedly, no merchandise was taken.
Other countries in which the iPhone launched on Friday morning (local time) include Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.