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Apple sells record 13 million iPhones, thanks to China

Apple sold a record 13 million iPhones during the debut weekend of its latest handsets, as enthusiasts from Beijing to New York rushed to stores to be the first with the new devices.

The results were boosted by sales in China, an increasingly critical region for Apple’s business. The company sold 10 million iPhones during the debut of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last year, even though the world’s most populous country wasn’t part of the initial release.

Apple’s ability to build such demand for its marquee product every year is unique in global business. Lines stretched from stores around the globe, with some fans spending a week or more waiting to be the first with the handset. The average selling price for an iPhone last quarter was $660 (not including carrier subsidies), which would translate to about $8.5 billion in revenue over the past 72 hours for Apple.

“Sales for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been phenomenal, blowing past any previous first weekend sales results in Apple’s history,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in a statement.

No Surprise

The results were largely expected. Apple said earlier this month that sales would top last year’s 10 million record. Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos, predicted sales would be 12 million to 13 million, thanks to initial sales in China.

The release of an new iPhone has a wide economic effect. Investors watch the iPhone roll-outs closely because Apple’s business is increasingly tied to the performance of the device, accounting for more than 60 percent of revenue.The company’s stock has fallen about 14 percent from a February high in part because of concerns it won’t be able to maintain its impressive run of growth.

As the world’s most valuable company by market value, Apple’s performance has the ability to influence the performance of widely-owned stock indexes such as the Nasdaq Composite Index. A chain of suppliers who make components for the iPhone also rely on Apple for big portions of their business.

While the opening weekend sales figures are closely watched, a better gauge of how the new handsets are selling won’t come until January, when the company reports results for the critical holiday quarter. Last year, Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones during that period, generating $51.2 billion in revenue.

Sales completed by Saturday will be included in Apple’s fourth-quarter results for fiscal 2015, while sales completed on Sunday will be included in Apple’s first-quarter results for fiscal 2016, the company said in the statement.

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