Apple started online sales of the latest version of its iPad kit — the iPad Air — in both Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland from 0:00 sharp on Friday morning. The outcome shows that the California-based technology giant has shifted its strategy of sales in the two economies within the same country.
First of all, the iPad Air that people purchased in Apple's Hong Kong online shop is all set to deliver within one or two weeks. But in Apple's China online shop, the iPad Air will all be delivered within 24 hours.
Secondly, just a few hours after the sale started, the iPad Air appeared to be out of stock in Hong Kong, while on the contrary, all versions of the iPad Air in China's online shop were still available until 5pm, when this story was being written. They will still be delivered within a day.
It seems that Apple is doing its best to support iPad Air sales on the Chinese mainland, rather than in Hong Kong, which used to be one of the favorable destinations for Chinese consumers to obtain Apple products. Hong Kong is always the market that Apple releases its new products to at the first batch. But this year, since the iPhone 5s sales, Chinese consumers could pick up the products at their local stores as early as their Hong Kong peers.
At the same time, Hong Kong, as the renowned duty-free harbor, does sell Apple products at much lower prices. For example, the lowest 16G iPad Air is priced at 3,588 yuan ($588.80) in China, while the same model sells only at HK$3,888 ($501.50) in Hong Kong; almost a 15 percent discount.
Apple is trying to tighten its supply in Hong Kong while putting ample sources in China directly, which could also be interpreted as its efforts in promoting Chinese consumers to buy Apple products in its local shops, rather than the black markets that sell products smuggled from Hong Kong.
Even if Hong Kong still prices Apple products much cheaper, as long as the supply is tight, consumers who hate to wait may consider picking up the goods in China directly.
The purpose is also seen from its popular golden iPhone 5s, which is hotly sought after by Chinese consumers. Even today, you are not able to book a set of golden iPhone 5s devices in Apple's Hong Kong online shops, while in China, you only need wait two to three months for the same smartphone.