Analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities said his checks with sources indicated iPhone 4S preorders sold out in their first 10 minutes of availability in Hong Kong on Friday. The iPhone 4S will become available in Hong Kong and 14 other countries this Friday.
"In our view, this is a very positive sign for iPhone 4S demand in Greater China has Hong Kong represents the first entry of the new smartphone in the rapidly growing region, and we expect the 4S to reach Mainland China in December," White said in a note to investors on Monday.
"We believe this rapid sell out will rest concerns surrounding the uptake of the iPhone 4S in the Greater China region that were driven by the limited language capability of Siri, which did not launch in Mandarin or Cantonese."
Apple's voice recognition technology is one of the major new features found in the iPhone 4S, though Siri currently remains labeled "beta" software. Currently Siri only understands English from the U.S., U.K. and Australia, as well as French and German, though Apple has promised that it will support additional languages in 2012, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian and Spanish.
A strong start for the iPhone 4S in China is particularly good news for Apple, as the nation of over a billion people has become an important part of the company's continued growth. In Apple's September quarter, Greater China accounted for $4.5 billion in revenue, which represented 16 percent of the company's total sales.
To put the numbers in perspective, Apple's revenue in China was up 270 percent year over year. And in the company's 2009 fiscal year, China represented just 2 percent of Apple's revenue.
In addition to Hong Kong, the iPhone 4S will laso launch this Friday in South Korea, Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Portugal, and Romania.
Apple executives have already publicly said that they expect to sell more iPhones than ever in the current holiday quarter. The iPhone 4S already got off to a record breaking start, with 4 million units sold in its first weekend alone.