Apple's iPhone 5 starts strong in China but shares pressured
December 17, 2012 3:14 PM EST
But the highly anticipated release in China, Apple's second-biggest market, has not eased worries about stiffer competition in smartphones that are driving a slide in the share price of the world's most valuable technology company.
Apple shares fell 3.8 percent on Friday to $509.79 after the iPhone 5's China debut, while Citi Research downgraded Apple's stock late on Sunday to "neutral" from "buy" and lowered Apple's price target to $575 from $675, citing diminishing hype around the iPhone 5 and improving competition in smartphones.
Apple's latest iPhone made its global debut with a launch in the United States and 30 other countries in September, selling more than 5 million in its first three days on the market.
"Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China," Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said in a statement.
This is the first time Apple has announced China sales numbers for the iPhone.
Analysts say Apple's longer-term outlook in the China market, however, may hinge on expanding its partners in that country to include China Mobile Ltd, the country's top telecoms carrier.
(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in BANGALORE and Melanie Lee in SHANGHAI; Editing by Edmund Klamann)
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