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Apple sells 2M iPhone 5s in China during first weekend, but stock slumps

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced it sold 2 million iPhone 5s during the gadget's first weekend of sales in China, the world's largest wireless market. However, Apple's shares fell after the news, partially due to a downgrade on Apple's stock by analysts at Citi.

Apple's stock was trading at around $506 per share this morning, the stock's lowest point since February. According to Reuters, Citi downgraded its outlook on Apple's stock due to diminishing hype around the company's iPhone 5 as well as improving competition in the smartphone market.

"Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China," said Apple CEO Tim Cook, noting that the iPhone 5 will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of December, making it Apple's fastest iPhone rollout ever. "China is a very important market for us and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products."

Apple is the world's second largest smartphone maker behind Samsung Electronics, according to various industry estimates. Apple's sales in China will be key for the company as it works to expand iPhone sales beyond its home base in the United States.

Apple said it sold 5 million iPhone 5s during the gadget's initial launch in September in the United States. The company sold a total of 26.9 million iPhones during its most recent quarter, a 58 percent increase from the year-ago period. However, that quarter only represented nine days' worth of sales of the iPhone 5, and the company's next quarterly results are expected to show a significant increase in iPhone sales.

Apple and Samsung continue to command the vast majority of the world's smartphone sales, and smartphones continue to cut into the market for feature phones. ABI Research recently reported that the world's smartphone makers shipped a total of 162 million smartphones in the third quarter, close to the 234 million non-smartphones shipped during the same period.

For more:
- see this Apple release
- see this Reuters article

Special Report: Analyzing the world's 11 biggest handset makers in Q3 2012

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