“An hour before the iPhone was set to make its official debut in China, reporters in Beijing counted nearly 300 customers queued up to buy it, according to ChinaNews.com,” Phillip Elmer-Dewitt reports for Fortune. “The first sale was scheduled to be made at 6:30 p.m. Friday Beijing time following an elaborate launch ceremony at the ‘The Place,’ China Unicom’s flagship store. Apple vice president Greg Joswiak spoke at the event, calling it ‘an extraordinary day.'”

Elmer-Dewitt reports, “At Apple’s own all-glass store in the Village at Sanlitun retail development, customers were lining up to buy hot drinks and blankets in response to a sudden cooling in Beijing.”

Elmer-Dewitt reports, “Earlier this week, iPhonAsia’s Dan Butterfield reported that China Unicom is offering an amnesty program to entice the estimated 1.5 to 2 million gray-market iPhones already in China to sign up for its service… At the ceremony Friday, China Unicom officials announced that they now have more than 1 million iPhone 3G subscribers.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “qka” for the heads up.]