Gold iPhone 5s the only spark among Chinese consumers

Retail prices of the gold-colored iPhone 5s have almost doubled in China's grey market, but the rest of new iPhones, especially 5c, have received very lukewarm responses.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor

A rumor has been brewing online that Apple released its gold-colored iPhone 5 in a bid to cater to the preference of Chinese people. If it is true, then the tech giant definitely made a right move.

Targeted at emerging markets, the iPhone 5c has few buyers in China.

While the official prices of iPhone 5s are identical to the iPhone 5 previously sold in China, where the low-end 16GB model is priced at 5,288 yuan (US$864), if you want a gold-colored iPhone 5s from the grey market today, you'll need to pay 10,000 yuan (US$1,634) or more for it today, according to a Xinhua news report

Even in China's special administrative region Hong Kong, gold-colored iPhone 5s are greatly sought after by consumers. Hundreds of scalpers waited outside Apple Store outlets in the city on the launch date of the new iPhones last Friday, reported China News. Those who successfully ordered a gold-colored iPhone 5s were able to resell the 16GB smartphone to scalpers at more than HK$9,000 (US$1,161), making significant profits over the official price-tag of HK$5,588 (US$721) immediately.

Apple's online iPhone sales in Hong Kong also proved the popularity of the gold-colored 5s, which has been out of stock since the first day of launch. The silver and black options are still available for order and expected to be shipped in October, while all iPhone 5c options can be delivered within 24 hours, according to Apple's local website.

A Tencent news report revealed that overall new iPhone sales in China were dismal on its debut. In an Apple Store in Beijing, only 300 new iPhones--mostly iPhone 5s--were sold as of 2pm on the first day of release, a far cry over the 1,000 sets sold during the debut of iPhone 4.

China Unicom, which also released contracted new iPhones to consumers on the same day, also met lukewarm response. A staff from the telecom carrier told Tencent its branch sold fewer than 100 units of the new iPhones, with the majority iPhone 5s.

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