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iPhone 5 Pre-Order Listings Appear In China

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Sellers in China list iPhone 5 for up to £710, despite it not being announced yet

Enterprising sellers on Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce platform, are already accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 5, despite the fact that it hasn’t even been announced yet.

The newest version of Apple’s smartphone is expected to be released between August and October this year, but Apple has not provided any firm details or even acknowledged the device’s existence.

This hasn’t stopped rumours of a larger screen, quad-core processor, support for contactless payments through Near Field Communication (NFC) technology or even a new connector being included in the smartphone.

Chinese iPhone 5 Demand

Many sellers on Taobao have listed these rumours as potential specifications for the device and have used mock-up pictures in their listings. Some iPhone 5 pre-order offers are asking for a deposit of 1,000 yuan (£101) for the device, with one even asking for 6,999 yuan (£710) up front from users who want to secure their iPhone.

Sellers told Reuters that they planned to buy the iPhone 5 in Hong Kong or the USA and bring them back, as products are often released there long before China. Sellers could not guarantee a delivery date, but demand for Apple devices in the country is so high that they are often smuggled across the borders.

In January, hundreds waited outside a store in Beijing, hoping to get their hands at the iPhone 4S. However when the store didn’t open a 7 am as expected, the crowd turned hostile, and when it was announced that it would not be opening at all, some began to throw eggs at the building.

It is speculated that the iPhone 5 will support China Mobile’s TD SCDMA 3G network which bosts more than 650 million mobile subscribers and is the world’s largest cellular operation.

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