Apple's iPhone 6 launch in China was slightly delayed as it took the company a bit longer than expected to receive the requisite licensing approval from Chinese authorities. As a result, the Phone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus won't actually be available for purchase in China until Friday, October 17.
Still, pre-orders for the new iPhone 6 handsets -- which began this past Friday -- are off to an incredible start. According to the Chinese-based website Tencent, each of China's top three cell cell carriers recorded over 1 million iPhone 6 orders in the first six hours of availability. That's 3 million orders in just 6 hours, a tremendous achievement by any metric.
Further, the magnitude of iPhone pre-orders in China helps add some more context to the unprecdented demand consumers have for Apple's new iPhone models. Recall that iPhone 6 sales during the first weekend of availability topped 10 million units. Had the device been available in China from the start, that figure would have likely been significantly higher, perhaps to the tune of 14 million units. By way of comparison, first weekend sales of the iPhone 5s checked in at 9 million units.
China, of course, remains an incredibly important and relatively untapped market for Apple. Quarter after quarter, sales growth in China outpaces growth from nearly every other region Apple operates in. And because Apple only inked a deal with China Mobile (the world's largest carrier) last year, the room for sales growth in China is unparalleled.