Apple: China iPhone 5 sales top 2 million during opening weekend

Apple’s stock price fell to a 10-month low on Friday on the back of analysts’ reports that Apple has been cutting supply orders to balance out excess inventory, and a reportedly quiet iPhone 5 launch in mainland China.

But apparently analysts weren’t talking to the right sources. This morning, Apple announced that it has sold over 2 million iPhone 5 in China, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in the country…

From Apple’s press release:

“Apple® today announced it has sold over two million of its new iPhone® 5 in China, just three days after its launch on December 14. iPhone 5 will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of December, making it the fastest iPhone rollout ever.

“Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “China is a very important market for us and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products.”

So how did the analysts get it so wrong? Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt points out that while traffic may have been light at the Apple stores and outlets selling unsubsidized iPhones (starting at $846), it was booming for carriers.

In addition to the 300,000 pre-orders racked up by China Unicom — up some 50% from 4S pre-orders — the carrier sold 5,000 more Friday morning in Shanghai alone. And China Telecom is said to have doubled that number.

All told, Apple sold over 2 million iPhone 5 this weekend, and that’s a huge deal. Remember, Apple sold 5 million during its initial launch weekend, which included 9 countries and several carriers. This was 1 country, 2 carriers.

It’ll be interesting to see how the market reacts to the news when it opens later today. Currently, APPL is sitting around $509 per share, down $200 from its peak in September.