Pre-orders for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sold out within two
hours on Apple's Hong Kong website - and many of those devices will
be smuggled across the border into mainland China, where they could
change hands for as much as four times the Hong Kong price.
The new models go on sale in the United States, Hong Kong and other
markets on Sept. 19, but China is still waiting for a release date.
Hong Kong residents went online to pre-order iPhones in the hope of
selling them on for a tidy profit to unofficial dealers, many of
whom will then move them into China to cash in on pent-up demand
Apple did not release the number of sales for pre-orders.
"I'm worried about getting enough iPhones to resell. Orders have
doubled compared to last year," said Gary Yiu, a salesperson at I
Generation in Sin Tat Plaza in Mong Kok, Hong Kong's electronics
His store offers HK$10,000 ($1,290) for those willing to re-sell the
latest model, almost twice the official local price of HK$5,588. Yiu
said he received more than 100 orders from Hong Kong and mainland
China, double the number he had a year ago when Apple launched the
There are about 100 electronics dealers in Sin Tat Plaza and each
bought 150-200 handsets immediately after the official release of
the iPhone 5S last year.
In Shenzhen, across the Chinese border from Hong Kong, the asking
price for the cheapest iPhone 6 model hit 20,000 yuan ($3,260),
while a salesperson at a telecoms shop in Shanghai said his company
had sent staff to Hong Kong, Japan and even the United States to buy
the new models and get them back to China for sale.
"It's tough to say right now what price we'll ask. It really depends
on market sentiment. It'll be decided by the asking price in the
market," said the man surnamed Zhang.
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Typically, student 'mules' from Hong Kong carry iPhones in their
schoolbags or strap them around their waists and ankles each time
they cross the border to the mainland. Some web users in China
shared tips on how to smuggle iPhones into the country - such as
opening the packaging so, if stopped, carriers can claim the phone
was bought for their own use.
Others in Hong Kong were still weighing whether to resell their
newest iPhone after securing a pre-order.
"It's all about luck," said information technology officer Danny
Lam, 28. "I kept refreshing. My F5 button almost broke."
"I may give it to my sister. I don't need this urgently, so I may
check the price with traders. If the price is good, of course I'll
(1 US dollar = 7.7502 Hong Kong dollar)
(1 US dollar = 6.1344 Chinese yuan)
(Additional reporting by Twinnie Siu and Diana Chan; Editing by Ian
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