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Apple

The rush is on! Hongkongers queue up for new iPhone 7 line but traders show less enthusiasm

Apple outlets across city open earlier than usual to large throngs, but traders say they will not offer much above sale price except for rare jet black model

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 September, 2016, 1:02pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 September, 2016, 11:19am

Thousands of consumers lined up at Apple stores on Friday to snag the latest iPhone 7 and ­7 Plus as they went on sale. However, many local smartphone traders were far from impressed with the new ­releases except for the relatively rare jet black model.

Hong Kong, the mainland and Taiwan were among the first places to get their hands on the tech giant’s new products.

The city’s five Apple outlets in Causeway Bay, Central, Sha Tin, Tsim Sha Tsui and Kowloon Tong were greeted by long lines that formed at dawn. The stores opened earlier than normal at 8am.

Buyers and traders flooded Hennessy Road where the Causeway Bay store is located. A 20-year-old student who declined to give his name arrived at 9am to pick up two reserved gold iPhone 7 Plus products, each with 256 gigabytes of storage.

After picking them up, he immediately sold them to a trader outside the store, earning HK$712 for each phone.

“The phone costs HK$7,388,” he said. “The dealer only offered me HK$7,600 at first, but I balked. Eventually he raised his offer to HK$8,100 for each phone.

“I can’t say it was the best deal but I’m satisfied,” he said.

Watch: Apple launches iPhone 7

A trader told the Post that most would only pay HK$300 extra for a phone due to the weak market, unless it was a jet black model.

“I am willing to pay double to get the new black model as it is rare. Otherwise do people still pay HK$2,000 extra for a smartphone nowadays when the latest model is widely available?” she said.

The 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus each have three storage capacity options at 32GB, 128 GB and 256 GB. They come in five case finishes: silver, gold, rose gold, matte black and jet black, the last of which only offers 128GB and 256GB storage options. However, not many of them have been made as the production process is complex.

Prices for the iPhone 7 start at HK$5,588, while the 7 Plus sells for at least HK$6,588.

Shopkeepers in Sin Tat Plaza in Mong Kok offered HK$20,000 to buy a 256GB jet black iPhone 7 Plus, which sells in an Apple store for HK$8,288.

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All stock of the newest iPhone products sold out in Hong Kong in less than 10 minutes after Apple started taking online orders last Friday.

An Apple employee said customers who had placed reservations should come to the store according to their assigned time slot and that walk-in purchases were not yet available.

For the first time, the tech giant banned Hong Kong customers from seeking a refund or exchanging iPhones in the store after they bought one through a reservation, in a bid to discourage scalping.

Queues were also seen outside Apple stores on the mainland, although they appeared to be shorter than on previous occasions when earlier versions of the phone were released there.

According to a mainland online news website dozens were queuing outside the outlet at the China Central Mall in Beijing at 7am on Friday – one hour before it opened.

Another media outlet reported that scalpers who secured the new products resold them to dealers for a profit of 500 yuan (HK$580) for each model.

Additional reporting by Sidney Leng