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?

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, China, Tablets

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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