TOKYO: Buyers from China, deprived of the latest iPhone launch at home, are among the first in line in Japan to grab the “6” and its new large-screen cousin as Apple hits back at rivals.
Licensing problems in China meant the global rollout went ahead without the huge and lucrative market, in a blow to Apple which had trumpeted its inclusion in the initial wave of the last iPhone launch.
Outside Tokyo’s flagship Apple store in glitzy Ginza, dozens of Chinese were among those waiting yesterday.
“I’m queuing because it’s not sold in China yet,” said Chen Manyan, a 21-year-old tourist from Fujian province, adding: “It’s expensive, though.”
Zou Zhiyang, 29, a Chinese student studying in Tokyo, said he intended to buy the maximum two handsets allowed.
“I’ll buy one for myself, and another to sell to one of my friends in China,” he said.
On the eve of the launch, Beijing said Apple had won two necessary approvals, one to certify the phone for the Chinese market and another for wireless devices.
“But iPhone 6 still needs to obtain a key network access licence before it can enter the Chinese mainland market,” the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The delay has created a lucrative secondary market, especially in Hong Kong, where dealers pay over the retail price expecting to get even more in turn from mainland buyers.
“If we are talking about the 128-gigabyte version, we would buy it for as much as HK$18,000 (RM7,515),” said Gary Yiu, the manager of the iGeneration reseller store. That is more than double the price of the top-of-the-range iPhone 6 Plus.
“I have around 200 pre-orders with 60% to 70% of these from mainland Chinese customers,” Yiusaid, adding that he had dispatched 10 staff members to buy as many as possible.
Yiu said the golden version of the 128GB iPhone 6 Plus was the most sought after, and he could re-sell it for more than HK$20,000 (RM8,351).
Dozens of resellers outside Hong Kong’s Apple stores handed over thick wads of cash to people selling their handsets.
Both new iPhones have larger screens. The iPhone 6 has a screen of 4.7 inches and the 6 Plus is 5.5 inches, reflecting a growing preference for bigger displays, despite Apple’s earlier vow to stick with the traditional size.
Apple says more than four million pre-orders were received in the 24 hours after the sale was announced.
Other markets that the launch was held yesterday were Singapore, Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Some 20 more countries will get the new iPhone from Sept 26. — AFP
Did you find this article insightful?