Scalpers swarm Apple's relatively quiet iPad mini retail launch in China

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Apple's reservation-only system in China, put in place after a near-riot occurred for the iPhone 4S launch, led to few crowds for the debut of the iPad mini.

Many of those who turned out for the iPad mini launch in China on Friday were scalpers looking to resell and profit from the device, according to The Wall Street Journal. But Apple's recently instituted rules have made it tougher for scalpers to get in the way of legitimate customers.

Chinese customers must participate in an online lottery one day in advance to purchase an iPad mini at one of the company's seven retail stores in China. Those who are selected are limited to two iPad minis and must bring photo identification.

The system was instituted after the iPhone 4S launch in January of this year was disrupted by an unruly crowd in Beijing. The crowd prevented Apple from opening its store in Sanlitun, and the company decided to postpone the launch of the iPhone 4S in Beijing and Shanghai.

And in May of 2011, the launch of the iPad 2 and white iPhone 4 caused a scuffle in Beijing in which disgruntled customers shook a glass door at the Sanlitun Apple Store and shattered it.

Sanlitun
Apple Store in Sanlitun, as seen in 2008. Photo by Flickr user sortabella.


Those incidents prompted Apple to implement its anti-scalping measures this July for the launch of the third-generation iPad in China. Local media alleged that scuffles at Apple's stores were between rival groups of scalpers.

For Friday's iPad mini launch, a Wall Street Journal reporter was harassed by a group of scalpers for filming them outside the Apple Store in Sanlitun. The scalpers told the reporter they felt it was an invasion of their privacy.

"After the reporter pointed out that they were conducting business in a public place, they proceeded to kick, swat and push him as Apple and mall security stood by," Friday's report said.

Aside from scalpers at the Sanlitun Apple Store, there were no crowds for Friday's iPad mini launch. The scalpers stood near the store's entrance to collect iPad minis from Chinese customers in exchange for cash.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Sounds like solid measures are being taken. Not full proof, but nothing is, and the more secure you make it the less convenient you make it for legitimate customers so I think this is a pretty good balance all around.
  • Reply 2 of 15
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    They need to do this here in LA and even NYC. Maybe not the random lottery part but require ordering online and have a system to monitor for several IDs at the same address, IP etc. especially IDs made at time of order, within a handful of days and such
  • Reply 3 of 15
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    "After the reporter pointed out that they were conducting business in a public place, they proceeded to kick, swat and push him as Apple and mall security stood by," Friday's report said.

    If this was outside the store then Apple is not at fault or not doing anything. They are there to secure the store. But mall security, really? That is their property, their job.
  • Reply 4 of 15


    If you're getting paid to do something and you're embarrassed to be filmed doing it, you may be on the wrong career path.

  • Reply 5 of 15
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    If you're getting paid to do something and you're embarrassed to be filmed doing it, you may be on the wrong career path.

    There could be other reasons they don't want to be filmed. My first thought was that they were already wanted by the government or that they were skipping work to buy iPads.
  • Reply 6 of 15
    They were scalpers for movie tickets, now moving up in career...
  • Reply 7 of 15
    c4rlobc4rlob Posts: 277member
    Toughen up WSJ reporter - take a hard pill.
    "kick, swat and push"? Hey, that's no different than what happens at the bottom of an NFL tackle pile. If the security doesn't see it openly, no harm no foul :)
  • Reply 8 of 15
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    There could be other reasons they don't want to be filmed. My first thought was that they were already wanted by the government or that they were skipping work to buy iPads.


     


    I think this might be closer to the truth.  Other than the "big man" (the guy holding the fistfuls of cash), the "scalpers" wouldn't be criminals or drug addicts like in the USA, they would be regular Chinese citizens and workers.  Almost everyone is involved in this sort of thing over there, it's just a totally normal thing for an average worker to make some extra money by buying an Apple product and selling it to the scalpers outside the door.  They might have been office workers on a lunch break or something.  

  • Reply 9 of 15
    If the scalpers were just waiting outside the store and buying up product from "real" customers in exchange for cash…

    Isn't this still scalping – with the addition of middlemen?
  • Reply 10 of 15
    taniatania Posts: 63member
    If you're getting paid to do something and you're embarrassed to be filmed doing it, you may be on the wrong career path.

    Well, if you're a super secret agent paid to eliminate a terrorist master mind, i doubt you'd want to be caught on film that'll be posted on youtube.
  • Reply 11 of 15
    cgjcgj Posts: 276member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post





    If this was outside the store then Apple is not at fault or not doing anything. They are there to secure the store. But mall security, really? That is their property, their job.


    See, that's just jobsworth. If you see someone getting beaten up in front of you, surely, surely, you have to help them. Whether you're a guard or just an ordinary citizen...

  • Reply 12 of 15
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by c4rlob View Post



    Toughen up WSJ reporter - take a hard pill


    Where does it say he wasn't tough?


     


     


    Quote:


    If the security doesn't see it openly, no harm no foul 



    "as Apple and mall security stood by,"




    Doubt it was an NFL tackle pile or a scrum.

  • Reply 13 of 15
    What kind of markup can a scalper get when a consumer can order online, or is that not available in China?
  • Reply 14 of 15
    lerxtlerxt Posts: 185member
    As a resident in China.
    1/ the guards didnt intervene because he was a foreigner or working for foreigners
    2/ the scalpers are not "skipping" work or on lunch breaks, they are professional scammers.
    3/ the profit comes from the desire of being the first to have the device
    4/ the ipad mini is not that popular as people who want a smaller tablet are getting Samsung Phablets.
    5/ the mark up early on is 50-100%. Anything to be seen to be the first
  • Reply 15 of 15

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by silverpraxis View Post


    If you're getting paid to do something and you're embarrassed to be filmed doing it, you may be on the wrong career path.





    I don't want to be filmed doing my job, and it's unrelated to "doing my job". I don't want to be filmed, period.

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