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The iPhone 5c can be cheap in China

When Apple introduced the iPhone 5c, analysts and pundits were taken aback that the device was not as cheap as they were anticipating. How, they pondered, would Apple be able to increase market share without a more affordable device aimed at emerging markets?

The result? A huge sell-off in Apple shares.

As is typically the case with respect to Apple-related panic, however, the reality is much less alarming than the hysteria would have you believe.

AllThingsD, for example, recently pointed out that both China Telecom and China Unicom are offering substantial subsidies for Apple's newest iPhones.

At 4,488 yuan -- about $730 -- the off-contract price of Apple's new iPhone 5c may well be too heady for China, the world's most populous mobile phone market. But the carriers distributing the device there are offering plenty of on-contract plans that pare its price down to a more appealing level.

Peruse iPhone 5c rate cards from China Telecom and China Unicom as Apple 2.0 did, and you'll find that both carriers are offering significant subsidies on the device for customers who want them. Indeed, China Unicom and China Telecom each have a few free-with-contract plans for the 5c.

The funny thing is, unlocked iPhones have always been expensive, and yet, that hasn't stopped Apple from selling millions of subsidized iPhones every single quarter.

Going back to China for a second, we reported just a few days ago that pre-orders for the iPhone 5s in the country sold out extremely quickly.

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