You see people walking out of Apple Stores with latest iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in hands, but in a minute, they left the premises only with a handful of cash.
On Friday when Apple started selling its latest iPhones in Hong Kong, the chasing and bargaining among the consumers and scalpers outside the stores became the real scene to watch.
All these first-day iPhone pickers have successfully seized the entrance tickets to purchase up to two sets of new iPhones through Apple’s reservation system on Tuesday, which was closed within 3 minutes after all the handsets were sold out. Hong Kong’s Apple stores didn’t accept any walk-in customers who plan to buy new iPhones without a successful reservation.
The limited supply of Apple’s long-wanted bigger screen smartphones, together, greatly pushed up the resale prices of new iPhones in Hong Kong to a level unseen in the previous launches. In turn, this prompted most of first-day pickers to resell their handsets on lucrative returns.
According to Apple Daily reports, the most popular iPhone 6 Plus 128G model was sold up to HK$17,200 (US$2,219), more than doubled from its official price tag of HK$8,088 (US$1,043) per set.
A student surnamed Yip who purchased a set of iPhone 6 128 model for HK$7,188 (US$927), refused to resell the handset to scalpers for HK$12,000 (US$1,548) as “the price is lower than the HK$15,000 (US$1,935) offered by Yip”, according to another Apple Daily report.
Some scalpers were doing the secondary resale on site. They would obtain the smartphones from consumers, and resell them on site to mainland tourists who are not familiar with the situation, seizing profits up to thousands of Hong Kong dollars, according to these reports.
On the same day, a number of human rights activists also gather around the Apple Store to criticize its manufacturing bases as sweatshops. They hung up a huge white board outside the store, describing the newly released handsets as “iSlave 6”.
Activists also held banners outside the shop, saying “Throw away the bad apple”, and trying to persuade the customers not to purchase Apple products. They also tried to introduce the sweatshop situations to the crowds in both English and mandarin.