updated 09:45 am EST, Fri November 11, 2011
Main purchases headed to mainland China
The Hong Kong Apple Store sold out of iPhone 4S stock within a matter of hours today, according to reports. The device went on sale at 7AM local time, but by lunchtime is said to have been unavailable from Apple directly. Approximately 1,250 people are claimed to have waited in an official line, while over 2,000 gathered outside of it. Although some carrier stores may still have stock, the Apple Store was possibly the surest way of getting a 4S, since pre-orders sold out in 10 minutes.
The Apple Store launch is said to have gone "rather smoothly," in stark contrast with the conflict between police, scalpers and regular shoppers that occurred on Wednesday night. Many of the phones bought today may in fact be going back to mainland China for resale. Some of the scalpers may be making as much as $1,000 HK ($129 US) per phone, paid to pass the products off to gray-market vendors who sell them at a markup.
Apple is said to have capped in-store sales at five units per customer, allowing scalpers to make up to a month's salary in one day. In countries like the US Apple is typically more conservative, restricting purchases to two at a time.