iPad mini launches in Hong Kong to lukewarm response

Summary:Despite Apple adopting the lottery ordering system for iPad mini and iPad 4 in Hong Kong, the sufficient stocks suggest its latest tablet isn't really viewed a hotcake item among Chinese people.

The iPad mini officially launches in Hong Kong today, with one of the cheapest prices in the world for the device starting from HK$2,588 (US$334) per set.

Similar to the sale strategy of iPhone 5 , Apple in Hong Kong also adopts a lottery ordering system which requires consumers to send applications online a day prior to the purchase date. Only those who receive a confirmation e-mail will be able to purchase up to two sets of iPad mini at an Apple store the following day.

But there is a major difference here. iPhone 5, which launched officially in late-September, today is still "unavailable" for online purchase in Hong Kong. And the lottery system is the only way for consumers to get the latest version of unlocked iPhone set in Hong Kong today.

However, the iPad mini is still available through online orders with purchases of up to two sets per customer. The delivery date is estimated to be around two weeks, according to the Apple's Hong Kong official Web site.

It is the same story for the latest version of iPad. While those who prefer to purchase the set in an Apple store must first secure a confirmation notice through the lottery system, the new sets are also available for customers to order online with free delivery, at an estimated delivery date of only one week.

However, Sina News reports said when iPad mini was first available for preorder on Oct. 26 in Apple's online store, it was sold out in just 20 minutes. But preorders soon become available again, suggesting the current inventory stock was either adequate or market responses were lukewarm.

It is also worth noting that iPad mini and iPad 4 are still priced close to the products sold in the United States. However, Apple raised its unlocked iPhone 5 retail prices by about 10 percent over the previous generation in Hong Kong, making it no longer the place where customers can purchase the iPhone 5 at the lowest price.

The scarce supply of iPhone 5 in Hong Kong allows it to be priced well above the retail prices in the black market. In China, people still need pay over 7,000 yuan (US$1,110) for the lowest model of iPhone 5 smuggled from Hong Kong, which is only priced HK$5,088 (US$656) in the city.

The popularity of iPhone 5, however, is unlikely to be duplicated in sales of iPad mini and iPad 4 in consideration of their market responses in Hong Kong today. 

Topics: iPad, Apple, China, Hong Kong, iPhone, Smartphones

About

Cyrus Lee, writing under a pen name, is a Hong Kong-based reporter in an English-language newspaper and a correspondent for a radio station.

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