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It's looking like China's getting really excited about the iPhone X

  • Chinese consumers appear to be getting very excited about the iPhone X
  • Buyers have already made millions of pre-orders, and the term #iPhoneX has been read 400 million times on social media
  • But for Apple, which has struggled to keep up with the onslaught of competition in China's smartphone market, an upturn in fortunes may not yet be in the cards

Chinese consumers are getting very excited about the iPhone X. But for Apple, which has struggled to keep up with the onslaught of competition in China's smartphone market, an upturn in fortunes may not yet be on the cards.

Already, Chinese buyers are rushing to get their pre-orders before the official product launch on Friday. JD.com, the country's second-largest e-commerce site after Alibaba's Tmall, received over 2.5 million pre-orders. Other sellers have tallied about another 3 million of such orders.

For perspective, Apple sold 44.9 million iPhone units in China in 2016, according to research by intelligence firm IDC.

Social media platforms in China are also seeing lively activity about Apple's latest offering, with the term #iPhoneX being read 400 million times thus far.

The iPhone X is displayed during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on Sept. 12, 2017 in Cupertino, Calif.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
The iPhone X is displayed during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on Sept. 12, 2017 in Cupertino, Calif.

Chinese consumers are picking up on the highly anticipated features not seen in previous iterations of the iPhone: Online, fans are saying that their favorite additions are the animated emojis, new camera lighting and facial recognition technology.

But it remains unclear if the hype will translate to actual sales in China.

The firm has struggled to expand its footprint in the country's smartphone market, where intense competition saw the tech giant fall behind domestic producers Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi earlier this year, according to estimates by intelligence company Canalys.

Recent numbers look hopeful, however. Apple saw a 40 percent year-over-year increase in its third-quarter iPhone sales in China, although analysts questioned whether the rise would be sustainable.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year that the Asian country, the world's largest smartphone market, would be integral to the tech giant's growth.