updated 04:40 pm EDT, Thu October 28, 2010
Apple's mainland Chinese online store sold out of iPhone 4s in just 10 hours, a local report notes. The website opened on Tuesday, finally allowing people to order an iPhone 4 without standing in line at one of the country's four Apple retail outlets. Many of the initial orders however are believed to have gone to scalpers, who can resell an iPhone with a markup despite already high prices when compared to the US or Hong Kong.
Apple has not said when a resupply of iPhone 4s might come in. It may be difficult for legitimate customers to get one, even then. "You will not have a chance to buy one," an unidentified scalper is quoted as saying. "We have an auto-refresh system to place [an] order, and we are watching it for 24 hours, can you do this?"
The situation may still be preferable to the lineup system. It not only forces customers to travel to Beijing or Shanghai, but also to compete with scalpers in person. In late September, a confrontation forced the temporary closure of the Sanlitun Apple Store.