White iPhone 4 creates long lines in Beijing

The new color is key in China, which has been Apple's fastest growing market for the iPhone

The launch of Apple's iPhone 4 in a white casing generated a long line of Chinese customers outside one of the company's stores in Beijing on Thursday.

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Hundreds of people lined up outside the Apple Store in the Sanlitun district of China's capital throughout the day. Some customers reported waiting to buy the device for more than three hours.

"It's been worth it. I'm really looking forward to getting it," said Cao Xuan, a 26-year-old who runs a tourism company. "Everyone likes the color white, it always sells well."

Apple began selling the white version of its popular iPhone 4 on Thursday in more than 20 different countries. However, China, along with Taiwan and Hong Kong, have proven to be the company's fastest growing markets for the iconic device. Last week, Apple's Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said that for the first three months of 2011, iPhone sales in those markets grew by almost 250 percent from the same period last year.

The black-colored iPhone 4 went on sale in China last September, drawing huge crowds at Apple's retail stores in Beijing. The company quickly reported supply shortages in the country.

On Thursday, customers in the line outside the Apple Store said they previously held off buying the device, simply because they didn't like the black color.

"White is brighter. The color makes you feel young," said Berry Li, a 22-year-old. Li is a fan of Apple and noted that the company's products are hot in the country. "Apple is a leader in technology," he added.

19-year-old high school student Chen Zhi said the white color is especially popular among women. He waited in line to buy the white iPhone 4, and planned to give the handset as a gift to his girlfriend.

"New things are always fashionable." he said. "I think girls always like products that are white in color."

Annie Zhang, a 35-year-old, had held off buying an iPhone previously. "I don't like the black color," Zhang said as she stood in line. "I've always been waiting for the white-colored iPhone 4."

"I had originally come here today to buy the first generation iPhone because I know it comes in white. But then I found out they were selling a white colored version of the iPhone 4," she said. "So it's quite a coincidence."

Apple currently has 8.3 percent share of China's smartphone market, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Nokia, Samsung and Motorola lead the market.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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