UPDATE 2-IPhone 5 hits China as Apple shares slide further

Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:27pm EST
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* Apple faces China roadblocks despite fast growth

* China Mobile tie-up may take years, hinges on TD-LTE -analyst

* iPhone 5 has 300,000 preorders via China Unicom

* Full impact of China launch to come in Apple's Jan-March qtr

* Apple shares down nearly 4 pct on Friday

By Melanie Lee

SHANGHAI, Dec 14 (Reuters) - The highly anticipated release of the iPhone 5 in China, Apple Inc's second-biggest market, failed to stop the recent share slide of the world's most valuable technology company on Friday, and analysts said Apple's longer-term China hopes may hinge on a partnership with the country's top telecoms carrier.

Apple's latest iPhone, sporting a larger 4-inch screen and 4G capability, was launched in the United States and 30 other countries in September, when the company sold more than 5 million of the devices in the first three days.

Apple's shares, however - once among the most desirable of portfolio holdings - have headed steadily lower since September on growing uncertainty about the company's ability to fend off unprecedented competition. This year saw a surge in sales of Amazon.com Inc's cheaper Kindle Fire and Microsoft Corp's first foray into the tablet market with its Surface.   Continued...