Media event set for September 9, launch likely ~10 days later.
China Unicom and China Telecom to Start Pre-Orders for iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C Next Week
"There used to be a wait of a few months before Apple launches their latest products in China, but nowadays, China is too important a market for Apple and so it will be the first batch of markets to start selling the low and high-end iPhones next week," said a source at one of the telecom carriers, who declined to be identified as he was not authorized to speak to the media. [...]That timing supports circulating rumors and speculation about the new iPhones launching in the first wave of markets on Friday, September 20, roughly a week and a half after Apple's media event.
Days after the launch in Beijing, both of Apple's current Chinese carriers will accept pre-orders. It will take about a week for them to deliver the new iPhones to their customers, the source said.
Currently, China Telecom and China Unicom are the only carriers in the country to carry the iPhone. China Mobile, the world’s biggest carrier, does not currently carry the iPhone, but there have been reports that the carrier may be close to a deal with Apple for the iPhone. Rumors have indicated that a China Mobile iPhone launch could come slightly later than on the other Chinese carriers due to the need for regulatory approval of unique iPhone hardware compatible with China Mobile's network.