Apple's iPad: China's debut, lacking the fireworks

Apple's iPad: China's debut, lacking the fireworks

Summary: Apple product debuts in China have been spoiled in the past by riots and out of control crowds, but how did the company fare at the release of its new iPad model?

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TOPICS: Apple, Tablets, China
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The release of popular Apple products in China have previously been marred by rowdy shoppers and crowds that were difficult to control -- but the new iPad has so far has told a different story.

On Friday morning, approximately 40 customers waited in line quietly outside the Apple store in Beijing's high-end Sanlitun shopping district. The doors opened at 8 a.m., two hours earlier than usual, without any incidents.

IT worker, Sun Xufei, who was the first in the line of shoppers waiting outside the Shanghai Lujiazui Apple store said: "I very surprised that there is no line. I thought there was going be a long line so I came over a bit earlier to pick it up."

That doesn't sound like a standard launch of any popular Apple product. However, the low-key launch of the latest iPad model in China proved to be free of the chaotic scenes that has plagued the technology giant's previous product debuts in the lucrative Asian market.

But what did Apple do to ensure the improved behavior of adoring fans?

The company introduced a pre-sale reservation system that required all customers to register their interest in the device before being able to buy the flagship model. Priced from RMB 3688 ($579), the reservation system appears to have been a success -- no large queues and no chaos. However, it has also gone further than that; restricting "scalpers", the independent sellers that buy in bulk and resell to make a tidy profit.

The Next Web reports that iPad sales will continue to be reservation-only on an indefinite basis. Customers are able to reserve the new iPad daily in the morning and will be assigned a pickup time for the following day or later.

The iPad's launch was a world away from the riotous iPhone 4S launch in January, when one of the company's flagship stores in Beijing was pelted with eggs by a rowdy crowd. Apple was forced to temporarily stop selling the iPhone 4S as restless customers and scalpers led police to seal off part of the mall.

Apple has two retail stores in Beijing, three in Shanghai, one in Hong Kong and a network of authorized resellers. Chinese government officials have said the company is looking to open two more in the major cities of Chengdu and Shenzhen.

Sales in the Asian market have proven lucrative; mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwanese rates increasing threefold to $7.9 billion in Q2.

Topics: Apple, Tablets, China

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7 comments
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  • Fashion victims

    He believed the hype:

    "I thought there was going be a long line so I came over a bit earlier "
    Tim Acheson
  • The Chinese like a bargain

    Evidently the demand for the iPad in China is not what Apple hoped for. It's predictable, given that the Chinese are hardly famous for buying and selling over-priced products (including genuine designer-label items like Apple's).
    Tim Acheson
    • I feel your whine

      Have you ever noticed that Apple does not pay people to poop in threads about Microsoft's products? Just saying'.
      Robert Hahn
    • What a sad person

      When the Chinese buy Apple products you said they drank the kook aid and now you whine that there was not a big crowd at the iPad launch.

      Read and try to understand why.
      AdanC
  • After 5 years, people are finally opening their eyes

    The Apple hype is fading. Sure, they make products and will continue to sell well, but they reached the peak of their sales with the release of the iPhone 4S, thanks in part to the passing of Steve Jobs.

    People are starting to be more open about owning non-iPhone smartphones. Consumers are being smart. While the iPhone was revolutionary in 2007, it doesn't have the hype behind it that it once had. Owning an iPhone doesn't make anyone "special" or "cool" anymore. Here's a quote from another source:

    "I'm very surprised that there is no line. I thought there was going be a long line so I came over a bit earlier to pick it up,"

    Like I said, all hype. For a device that is so expensive the iPhone/iPad sure does have a lot of features missing, which is the reason that former iOS owners like myself had to resort to jailbreaking. If Apple sold the iPhone with every feature that can only be had by jailbreaking, my opinion would be much-changed. The fact of the matter is that they want to control what users can and can not do and they will never lose control, but will continue holding a tighter grip on every product they make (actually, 30% is made by Samsung, some LG, etc. you get the point)
    Flor Bogs
    • Another sad person

      Yes, read if you can understand what the article is all about before shooting from the hip, it make you look kind of foolish.
      AdanC
  • I wonder if any of the above posters...

    actually read the article.

    Apparently not.
    msalzberg