BEIJING–Apple’s iPhone 4S was available in several Beijing shops Saturday, despite not officially being for sale in China. “Today we have got two from Canada, they’re 11,000 yuan (US$1,720) each. If you’re interested, you need to come straight away,” a saleswoman at a mobile phone shop at Hailong market told a reporter. She said it was a 16GB model, the least expensive in the range. In the U.S. the same phone is sold for US$199 with a two-year contract. At Zhongguancun, the Chinese “Silicon Valley,” in the northwest of Beijing, a shopkeeper specializing in Apple products said: “We don’t have any more, it will be next Tuesday at best.” Many Chinese media titles also reported on the high-price sales of the much sought-after phones. By the end of August China had 940 million mobile phone users, 10 percent of whom were on 3G, according to the ministry of industry and information technology. Wang Jianzhou, the president of China Mobile, the country’s biggest operator, said they had sold 9.5 million iPhones by the end of September, according to the Beijing Qingnian Bao newspaper. The second-biggest operator, China Unicom, announced a drop in price for iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 from Sunday although the official date for the launch of the iPhone 4S in China has not been set. The latest Apple product was launched in seven countries on Thursday and will be released for sale in another 22 countries on Oct. 28. According to experts in the field it will come out in China toward the end of the year, Xinjing Bao newspaper reported.
After the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs last week almost 35 million tributes were posted on the microblogging site Sina Weibo.