Apple (AAPL) iPhone Sales In China Only 5,000 During First Weekend

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China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) released its earnings yesterday and as part of its comments to investors it said it had only sold 5,000 iPhones since it started offering the handset.

China Unicom posted moderately good earnings. Its first three quarter’s financial statement said the big cellular company had revenue of 114,928 million RMB and 9,338 million RMB in net income.

Unicom Chairman Chang Xiaobing  said more than 1 million 3G subscribers had been signed up and that the launch of Apple’s iPhone would boost revenue in the fourth quarter. The firm did not give any more specific forecasts.

Unicom does expect margins to come down as it builds out its 3G network and invests in the marketing of new handsets including the iPhone

It is odd, to say the least, that Unicom would mention that it had only sold 5,000 iPhones without elaboration. Last month Chinese stock research firm CLSA said it estimated that Apple would sell 450,000 iPhones through Unicom next year. As Apple Insider points out, that would still be fewer than are sold on the grey market in the world most populous nation.

Not matter what Unicom or analysts have to say, 5,000 iPhones isn’t many.

Douglas A. McIntyre