Fortune reports the website of a China Mobile (CHL +0.3%) subsidiary for the city of Suzhou (located near Shanghai) began taking iPhone 5S (AAPL +1.6%) and 5C pre-orders last night, before halting its efforts today.
The (premature?) reservation activity follows multiple reports indicating China Mobile, the world's largest carrier in terms of subscribers (750M+), will announce it will begin offering the iPhone at its Dec. 18 4G launch event.
Kantar Worldpanel recently estimated the iPhone had a 15.5% smartphone share (-340 bps Y/Y) in "Urban China" for the August-October timeframe. That compares with a U.S. share of 52.6% (+490 bps), an EU5 share of 15.8% (-500 bps), and a Japanese share of 61.1% (no year-ago data).