Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) already has the potential to quickly rack up sales for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in China. Preorders don’t begun until Oct. 10, but Chinese media reported on Thursday that carriers and retailers had already hit 2 million reservations (not preorders as was initially reported) in just the first six hours.
Chinese consumers plan to buy iPhone 6, 6 Plus
It should be noted, however, that the term “reservations” doesn’t mean preorders, like it sounds. Instead, Chinese carriers and retailers are merely allowing consumers to express their serious intention to purchase an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus—including which model they want to buy. Consumers do not actually pay for the device like they do with a preorder. They’re just reserving a place in line on a waiting list for the device.
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Fortune‘s Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports that his sources have been keeping an eye on tech media outlets in China. He reports that all of the nation’s three biggest carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, are taking reservations for all the new iPhone 6 models. He also said Gome and Sunning, two retail chains that are licensed to sell Apple products, are also taking reservations.
Estimating iPhone 6 reservations
He said initially that the most reliable number appears to be from China Unicom. The carrier was said to have taken 600,000 reservations in just the first two hours they were opened. Other estimates suggested that all three Chinese carriers took reservations for 1 million iPhones, while retailers took reservations for an additional 1 million.
By today, he reports that published reservation estimates have doubled to 4 million reservations. Tenent reported that Jingdong, a rapidly growing retail website, took 2.3 million reservations alone. The ecommerce site’s breakdown was reportedly about 1.1 million iPhone 6 models and nearly 1.2 million iPhone 6 Plus model.
Official preorders for all of the iPhone 6 models begin on Oct. 10, although Chinese consumers will not actually be able to get their hands on one until Oct. 17.