On Friday night, the "Year of the iPhone" began in China when the device officially went on sale there.
The following pricing is listed on Wired.com: "An 8GB model of the iPhone is estimated to sell for 2,400 yuan ($350), and a 16GB may be sold at 4,800 yuan ($700)", while China Daily is reporting that "An iPhone 3GS handset (without connection) costs 4,999 yuan ($733), more than half of the country's per capita urban disposable income, and about 25 percent more than what it sells for in Hong Kong." However, the phone will come without wi-fi at the behest of the Chinese government.
Unlike the frenzy witnessed in the States when the iPhone was launched, a few hundred people queued up quietly in the cold and rain. According to China Daily, after waiting for 7 hours and 40 minutes, Zhi Xianzhong, 32, bought the first iPhone from Apple partner, China Unicom. He received a certificate for being first. Liu Xinling, shown below in a picture from the China Daily site, was the first person to buy an iPhone online on the Chinese mainland. She's posing with the certificate she also received for being first. "I kept refreshing the Unicom website continually before logging on to book the handset," explained the 25 year old woman.
The wireless market in China is believed to be 700 million, roughly double that of the States. In addition to other phones on sale, there will be a challenge for iPhones sales because (according to Business Week) it's believed that at least 1.5 'grey market' iPhones have already been sold. Since they're imported, and not manufactured in China, they'll likely be wifi capable.
Read the full China Daily article. View the China Unicom press release.