Apple adopts lottery system for iPhone 5 sales in Hong Kong

Scalpers are reselling iPhone 5 up to US$1,550 per set due to scarce supply in the city.

Apple has suspended direct sales of the new iPhone 5 in Hong Kong, choosing again to adopt a lottery reserving system which requires consumers to send applications online a day prior the purchase date.

Only those who have received a confirmation e-mail will be able to purchase up to two sets of iPhone 5 at  Apple stores in Hong Kong.

A similar approach was adopted by Apple for the sales of Apple's new iPad in the first half this year, which is believed to combat a large number of scalpers looking to resell these machines to mainland China for profits.

Due to the lottery system, local report said the number of fans queuing outside the Apple retail store in Hong Kong was limited on Friday when iPhone 5 was officially launched in the city.

However, the scarce supply pulled up the selling prices of iPhone 5 in the underground market in Hong Kong. Reports said scalpers purchased the new iPhone 16G--which is priced HK$5,588 (US$721) in the Apple retail store--for HK$8,000 (US$1,032) from those who succeeded in buying one through the lottery system. The scalpers will then resell the handset between HK$8,500 (US$1,096) and HK$12,000 (US$1,548).

The Chinese market was not on the list of the first-batch of iPhone 5 sales. However, Chinese smugglers indicated in the reports that by the night of Friday, people in Beijing will also be able to purchase iPhone in the underground market, but at an even higher cost.

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