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iPhone 4S Launches to Long Lines in Hong Kong and South Korea

The iPhone 4S officially launched in fifteen new countries today, with Hong Kong and South Korea being two of the highest-profile new markets.

M.I.C gadget followed the opening in Hong Kong, noting that over 3,000 people showed up at Apple's massive new flagship store in the IFC Mall. But Apple staff reportedly allowed only 1,250 of those people to line up for the device, resulting in a significant number of people being turned away and milling about in advance of the opening.

Hong Kong scalpers collecting bags full of iPhones for gray market distribution

Hong Kong has long been a popular market for scalpers given its close proximity to China proper and its lack of sales taxes and VAT. Given that the iPhone 4S has not yet launched in China, the Hong Kong launch was indeed primed for a significant gray market push from scalpers. M.I.C gadget notes that the vast majority of people in line at the Hong Kong Apple store appeared to be purchasing on behalf of scalpers, with many of them having been paid to stand in line and purchase the maximum of five devices. Following pre-orders last week that sold out in just ten minutes, reports indicate that Apple's retail store sold out of its own stock within three hours.

Gray market dealer in Hong Kong already offering dozens of iPhone 4S units for sale

M.I.C gadget also details how quickly the scalped devices made their way to gray market dealers, with some offering as many as 50-100 iPhone 4S units for sale within a few hours of its official launch.

iPhone 4S line at flagship KT store in South Korea

iPhone 4S lines were also long in South Korea, as reported by Yonhap, with carriers KT and SK Telecom serving as the primary launch locations given the absence of any official Apple retail stores in the country. SK Telecom invited the first 100 pre-order customers to a midnight launch event with local hip-hop artists and other fanfare, while KT opted to focus on the more traditional customer lineup for the morning launch of the device.

In addition to Hong Kong and South Korea, the iPhone 4S also launched today in Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Portugal, and Romania.

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Top Rated Comments

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69 months ago
Maximum of five phones ? Hmm.

Why doesn't Apple limit the number to 3 or better 2 devices, at least for the first weeks. Five phones per person is just a welcome for scalpers.
Rating: 7 Votes
69 months ago
I'm Hong Kong people. Most of the buyers, sold their iPhones straight away after they have bought the phones. Proximately, they can get at least HK$1000 per 1 iPhone.

As a truly end user of iphone and mac lover, i really hate this kind of business. Everyone is crazy to get iPhone to sell.One of my friends, pre-ordered 16 pcs online on apple store, and it is common for anyone who wants to make profit on it.Online apple store stopped the pre-order just 20 mins after they launched it. So you can imagine how many end user cant get their iPhone to use.

I dont know if it is a common phenomenal around the world:(

Sorry for my poor english since english is not my first language
Rating: 4 Votes
69 months ago
I'm in HK right now. You make 1500 to 1800 per iPhone in HKD. That's roughly 200 something in CAD and USD. Prices are dropping as we speak.

HK is known for scalping. It's nothing shocking at all. China is filled with rich people who will spend any amount to acquire new and fancy things. As long as the people in China are so loaded, this scalping won't end.

90% of the people in the line in HK do not love Apple. They do it to scalp. Also, they are all black, brown or Filipino people. They are paid to line up.
Rating: 3 Votes
69 months ago
I never wanted to buy iPhones from Gray Markets.
Rating: 2 Votes
69 months ago

Those people in the Hong Kong pic are not ethnically Chinese. I think the pics were mixed up.

So!? Doesn't mean they don't live there!
Rating: 2 Votes
69 months ago

Maximum of five phones ? Hmm.

Why doesn't Apple limit the number to 3 or better 2 devices, at least for the first weeks. Five phones per person is just a welcome for scalpers.

I have been saying this since the pre-order started, Apple LOVES scalpers.

5 phones per person is nothing compared to the 10 per person limit on online pre-order! I believe Apple has a 2 per person limit everywhere in the world but Hong Kong, which is so close to China where iPhones are of huge demand and not being sold yet. Why? Who is doing the dirty business?

Shame on Apple.
Rating: 2 Votes
69 months ago

No. That is a real photo from Hong Kong. The scalper hired these South Asian residents to line up for them.

I think he's talking about the Indian people. Why would the pics be mixed up though? Indian people can live in Hong Kong.
Rating: 1 Votes
69 months ago
At least, here in Brazil, when started selling the iPhone 4, the official price without contract was:
16GB -> R$1799 = US$1035 :eek:
32GB -> R$2099 = US$1208 :eek::eek:

And I am quite sure iPhone 4S will not be different. If those scalpers sell for the same price of even more, I am pretty sure a lot of people will buy them, because:

1) The only (ONLY!) way to buy an iPhone is at Carrier Shops which is always crowded of people with long queues and no way to order if they don´t have it. You simply need to go there every day until have luck to find one. It still happens if you want to buy and iPhone 4.

2) When you need to use your guarantee, another headache. No physical Apple Store. If you call Apple BR, they will say it is the Carrier problem. So again, you need to go to the damn Carrier Shops to ask for your rights.

So, for Countries like mine, those Gray Markets are and will always be very attractive.
Rating: 1 Votes
69 months ago

"SK Telecom invited the first 100 pre-order customers to a midnight launch event with local hip-hop artists and other fanfare"

I am just having trouble imagining a Korean hip-hop artist. Do they wear their pants low?

They have ridiculous Korean-American "hip-hop" accents.
Rating: 1 Votes
69 months ago

Why not buy 1, sell it and then use the money to buy 1 to keep. If people are willing to buy at high prices, i don't see the problem.

The problem is, a normal end user can't really "compete" with those Pakstani and Filippino low-income earners in Hong Kong who can come in mobs of hundreds and queue for days!

Even a true user in the queue will most probably buy 5, sell 4 to the scalpers right outside the Apple Store and voila, he got a free iPhone.

Just in case you don't know, those phones sold to the grey markets DO NOT end up in Hong Kong users' hands. I'd say HK users only account for 10% or less of the stock sold in the HK store. The remaining 90% are sold at a high margin in mainland China to the rich. That's the problem and a big one!
Rating: 1 Votes

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