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Despite High Price Tag, iPhone 5 a Hit in Cambodia

Apple employees hang an iPhone 5 sign at one of the company's retail locations shortly before sales began in San Francisco, California, September 21, 2012. Apple fans queued around city blocks worldwide on Friday to get their hands on the new iPhone 5 - but grumbles about inaccurate maps tempered the excitement.

The iPhone 5 has been on sale in Cambodia since Sept. 22, a day after Apple’s public sales began in other countries.

PHNOM PENH - The iPhone 5 has caught Cambodia by storm, with phone shops throughout the capital abuzz with the chatting and bargaining of customers and shop owners selling Apple’s latest mobile device.

The iPhone 5 has been on sale in Cambodia since Sept. 22, a day after Apple’s public sales began in other countries. That kind of high-tech delivery was once unheard of here, where cheap hand phones dominate the market.

Still, at the Hak Sei Phone Shop, more than 100 iPhones have sold already. Other store owners report similar sales.

“We decided to import this new product because it is a new and popular phone, which is now a most-wanted product,” Chhim Seingheng, the store manager at Hak Sei, said.

Data is relatively cheap in Cambodia, so many people here have found smart mobile devices appealing. The iPhone 5 sells here from between $1,060 and $1,350, depending on the memory size.

Pin Pisal, a student at the Royal University of Law and Economics, bought a phone from the Hak Sei shop recently.

“The iPhone 5 looks cool, and it contains many more applications I can easily use to contact the people I know,” he said. The phone allows him to get online, he said. “And it allows me to take beautiful pictures.”

Meng Heng, a construction contractor, bought an iPhone 5 as soon as he could, he said. “Personally, it is my ambition to buy Apple products, since I’m an Apple fan.”

At the Yung Far Tech store, near O’Russei Market, 50 of the phones sold in five days, said Ly Huy, the shop’s owner. He brought the phones to his store as soon as he could, he said. “I have partners in other countries, so I just went there one day, bought the product and came back,” he said.

Most of his buyers are from the upper class, he said, people who afford to worry about appearances. “They just want to make themselves look fashionable, since they have enough money,” he said.