Pre-orders for Apple Inc's iPhone 4 in China have exceeded 200,000 units since the handsets went on sale on Saturday, China Unicom said, adding that it has stopped taking online orders because of strong demand. About 60,000 buyers had received phones through China Unicom so far, the mobile operator said in a statement. By comparison, it took about six weeks to sell 100,000 iPhone 3GS handsets in 2009.

The iPhone 4 is being offered through China Unicom on a two-year mobile subscription contract and also through Apple retail stores in China, the world's largest mobile phone market with more than 800 million subscribers. China Unicom, which counts China Mobile Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd as its competitors, is the sole distributor of Apple's iPhone in the country. Sales for previous generations of the iPhone were slow because of its high price.

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