| Updated at: 0949 PST, Saturday, September 25, 2010|
BEIJING: Apple on Saturday launched the latest version of its iPhone in China and boosted its presence in the world's biggest Internet and mobile market by opening another two stores in Beijing and Shanghai.
Dozens of people queued up at the new store in the capital for the first official iPhone 4, some waiting for more than 24 hours, state media reported, even though the smartphone has been available on the grey market for months.
The iPhone 4 is available in Apple stores in the two cities, as well as at China Unicom retail outlets for buyers who sign a two-year contract with the operator, Apple said in a previous statement.
The 16-gigabyte version of the smartphone, which will have wireless Internet capability, will cost 4,999 yuan (744 dollars) at Apple stores with the 32-gigabyte selling for 5,999 yuan, the California manufacturer said.
China Unicom, the country's second-largest mobile phone operator, reportedly took nearly 50,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4 on September 17, the opening day for such reservations.
With the two-year contract, the 16-gigabyte will sell for 5,880 yuan while the 32-gigabyte version will cost 6,999 yuan, the China Daily said.
The iPhone 4 made its debut in China just a week after Apple officially launched the iPad tablet computer in the country, with some customers queuing up for several days to ensure they got their hands on the sleek device.
The new stores in Beijing and Shanghai will bring the company's total to four in China -- two in each city. It plans to have 25 stores in the country by the end of next year.
China has at least 420 million web users and is also the world's largest mobile market with more than 800 million subscribers as of the end of June, according to official data.