Scalpers capitalize on Apple's limited iPhone 4 stock in China

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
When the iPhone 4 went on sale in China last week, scalpers immediately began taking advantage of Apple's limited stock, offering the device to customers with a 10 percent markup and apparently causing a fight with regular customers at one store.



With the handset completely sold out in the four Apple retail stores in China, scalpers were waiting outside the locations, according to The Wall Street Journal, to offer an alternative. Those scalpers purchased many of the smartphones when they went on sale earlier in the week.



"Want to buy an iPhone 4?" the scalpers have reportedly been asking customers. "Come with us."



"Working in groups, the scalpers lead willing customers to an empty stairway in the same mall, where their cohorts keep stacks of iPhone 4s in the original packaging," the report said. "One scalper was offering the 16-gigabyte version of the device for 5,400 yuan, or about 795 dollars, a 10-percent mark-up over the sticker price."



The scalpers' handsets are said to be selling at a brisk pace, too, with one person revealing they had sold 10 handsets in just an hour. At least five groups were said to be working inside Beijing's Sanlitun Village mall.



The issue caused a scuffle with customers this week, according to MIC Gadget. Large crowds reportedly resulted in people being pushed into the cashiers' counter, and scalpers walked out with large bags full of iPhone 4s.



"According to sources, the real customers and the iPhone 4 scalpers had a fight in the Apple store," the report said. "A gang of scalpers were cutting the queue and some customers were fed up with the scalpers for buying large quantities of iPhone 4 and resell them outside the store. The police and Apple?s own security staff appeared to clean up the mess and due to the chaotic crowd, the store needs to be closed temporarily..."



The iPhone 4 went on sale in China on Saturday, drawing huge crowds of thousands of people, lined up to get their hands on Apple's latest smartphone. Carrier China Unicom received more than 200,000 preorders, and struggled to meet consumer demand.



A total of 100,000 handsets were said to have been sold in the first four days of availability, while the other 100,000 who preordered may have to wait until as late as the end of October to have their order fulfilled. Just 40,000 units were shipped for the first day of sales.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    That's crazy...



    I think Apple seriously underestimated iPhone 4's demands in China. I'm a little puzzled as to why China Unicom took in 200K preorders when they only have 100K in stock?



    Can't they just walk across the street to Foxconn and get some more?
  • Reply 2 of 32
    10 handsets an hour dosnt seem very fast..
  • Reply 3 of 32
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,744member
    Hopefully this eases the demand at the Apple Stores in Canada. People are still lining up very early in the morning, everyday, without even knowing if the store received stock. They sell out quickly any day they do get stock. One of the reason is that they sell them unlocked and people from everywhere (not just China, but many places) are buying up units to sell abroad. I think they still have a 2 per customer limit, but there are reports of people lining up, buying two and then handing them over to a couple people waiting outside the store. One person I know watched about a dozen people hand over phones to one guy, get a handful of cash in exchange and then walk away.



    Even if it is difficult to get one in China, the fact that they are available, even through scalpers, has got to be easy and cheaper than importing them from Canada.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe hs View Post


    10 handsets an hour dosnt seem very fast..



    I don't know. I wouldn't mind a job where I make over $700 an hour.
  • Reply 5 of 32
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,548member
    When folks having waited hours in line to buy their iP4 get shoehorned by jerks ahead of them or that cut in line to buy loads of iP4 phones and deplete stock to then turn around and scalp them to those same customers is just plain wrong. Sorry... I'm for capitalism and entrepreneurship but this is just sleazy.



    Doesn't Apple in China disallow folks from buying a load of phones at the same time? It won't deter scalpers I suppose when they have a group of people waiting in line, each buying their max allotment.



    So sad.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    801801 Posts: 271member
    Buyers Send iPhones on a Long Relay to China

    By NICK BILTON

    Published: September 22, 2010



    They show up in the early-morning hours: Chinese men and women, waiting silently and somewhat nervously outside of Apple stores in New York. On some days the lines they form can be a block long.







    A store in Chinatown offers to buy and unlock the iPhone 4.









    Customers in line to buy phones at an Apple store in SoHo. Some of the phones will be resold to end up on the streets of China.





    These are not typical Apple fans. Instead they are participants in a complex and curious trade driven by China’s demand for Apple’s fashionable gadgets — products that are made in China in the first place and exported, only to make the long trip back.







    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/23/te.../23iphone.html



    In case you guys miss the NYTs coverage a few days ago...
  • Reply 7 of 32
    This is a result of Apple not putting a limit on the number of iPhones that could be purchased at one time, right?
  • Reply 8 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    This is a result of Apple not putting a limit on the number of iPhones that could be purchased at one time, right?



    here the limit is 2 per. But it hasn't helped as the stock sent to stores is paltry.
  • Reply 9 of 32
    this is more a result of the sticker price being too low--people are still paying the price, but they're doing so in time, which is just a waste.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,167member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    This is a result of Apple not putting a limit on the number of iPhones that could be purchased at one time, right?



    Even a limit of one is easily overcome I'd have thought. The scalper simply hires a load of people to all by one and they still get a boat load. Still I'd rather be reading this than a news feed saying they were "Selling like Zunes"
  • Reply 11 of 32
    The other operator here in Helsinki just started offering iPhones. Unlocked, ?478 without tax, and as many as you want to buy. There were some seriously long lines. Going to be interesting to see how the other operator responds.
  • Reply 12 of 32
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,167member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    I don't know. I wouldn't mind a job where I make over $700 an hour.



    Come back a lawyer
  • Reply 13 of 32
    'Large crows', thinking that must be a typo.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    Not liking the fact that they cut the line and constrain supply, but 10% is less than EBay charges in some cases.



    The 2 phone limit is probably a good thing.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,744member
    MacRumors is reporting that all four stores in china are now requiring ID, limiting 1 per customer and requiring every phone to be opened and activated on the spot.
  • Reply 16 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    MacRumors is reporting that all four stores in china are now requiring ID, limiting 1 per customer and requiring every phone to be opened and activated on the spot.



    Sounds like the smart way to sell them, to avoid scalpers, when supply can't meet demand.
  • Reply 17 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Large crows reportedly resulted in people being pushed into the cashiers' counter,



    Wow! That IS scary! Crows can be so nasty and aggressive!
  • Reply 18 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by canucklehead View Post


    Wow! That IS scary! Crows can be so nasty and aggressive!



    missed that one... roflmao
  • Reply 19 of 32
    enzosenzos Posts: 344member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rbonner View Post


    'Large crows', thinking that must be a typo.



    Yes, but a high-quality Graham-Greene-ish sort of typo. And apt - crows being opportunists and scavengers.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    gxcadgxcad Posts: 120member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe hs View Post


    10 handsets an hour dosnt seem very fast..



    Ahh, but you are forgetting something:



    "with one person revealing they had sold 10 handsets in just an hour"



    ONE PERSON said this...with a 10% markup of $700, thats $700 profit, in one hour.



    $700 an hour is a pretty good wage. Noted it said they work in groups, but still how big could those groups be? If its 10 people then they get $70 an hour each, still a pretty good wage. Especially in China.
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