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by Staff Writers
San Francisco Dec 14, 2012
Concerns that the latest iPhone may not be a hit in China caused Apple shares on Friday to extend their slide from a record high price hit in September.
Apple shares were down 3.76 percent to $509.79 at the close of the Nasdaq exchange, with the price eroding further in after-hours trades.
Stock in the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Macintosh computer maker have lost more than a quarter of their value since topping $700 per share in September as the iPhone 5 was poised to launch in the US and a half-dozen other countries.
The latest bite out of Apple shares came as the iPhone 5 made a lackluster debut in China and an analyst reported that Apple has cut orders for smartphone parts.
"Based on our survey, we believe the sale of iPhone 5 is unlikely to be successful in China," said a note from TH Capital.
The note said Apple's sales channel in China "has room for better optimization of sales and service" and that the "high price of iPhone 5 turns people away."
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek scaled back estimates for iPhone sales, saying "component suppliers have seen large order cuts as the assembly bottleneck has not improved as much as hoped... We had thought Apple would be further along the assembly ramp at this point and believe Apple will see extra charges due to the excess component inventory."
Some financial analysts on Friday scaled back their predictions of how high Apple stock will rise but still expected it to gain ground.
Previous iPhone model launches in China were met with stampedes by eager buyers and the emergence of a black market for the coveted Apple gadgets.
The iPhone 5 reception was subdued; with some analysts suspecting prices for Apple's unabashedly premium products was scaring away customers.
iPhone 5 hits Russian, Chinese markets
The iPhone reached Russia almost three months after it was launched in the United States and about 30 other countries, with the sources speculating the delay was caused by production shortages at Foxconn, Apple's main manufacturing partner, RIA Novosti reported Friday.
The iPad Mini made arrived in the Russian market much faster, only six weeks after its launch in the United States.
The iPhone is expected to sell for $1,140-$1,330, depending on memory capacity.
One of the selling points for the iPhone in the rest of the world -- support for high-speed LTE networks -- will be irrelevant in Russia because no Russian mobile operators offer LTE capability.
On Friday Apple also officially released the iPhone 5 in China, offering it for sale online, in its seven retail stores in the country and through cellular providers China Unicom and China Telecom.
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