China Unicorn, the country's second largest wireless carrier behind China Mobile (which still hasn't reached a deal with Apple to carry its iPhone) has taken to Weibo, the Chinese Twitter-equivalent, to announce that pre-orders for the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c have topped 100,000. This is before the carrier has actually announced the pricing for the new iPhones.
As you can imagine, despite the relatively obscure pricing model at the moment, 100,000 pre-orders aren't at all that impressive – China Unicorn has some 266 million subscribers as of July this year. What's more, analysts have commented for Bloomberg that this year's iPhones will receive a considerably lower subsidy – about 15% less when compared to the iPhone 5, according to one estimate.
Does this mean that the new iPhones will prove to be a flop? Well, we don't really have enough to make such a call, but our impression is that the new Apple phones have generated less buzz than usual. Moreover, as you may have heard, price competition from Chinese brands has intensified ten-fold since Apple's last visit. That's a pretty valid concern, seeing as the 32GB version of the iPhone 5s will cost the average person in China more than a half year worth of salary.