Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus officially went on sale in China on Friday, though it doesn’t seem like many people really cared.
Previous releases of Apple’s iconic smartphone reliably drew massive crowds, frenzied enthusiasm and even scalper fights, but this time, the reaction was a bit more, shall we say muted?
At Apple’s West Lake location in Hangzhou, a contingent of 30 to 40 security guards reportedly arrived at 6 a.m. on Friday morning to set up a maze of barricades to keep everything orderly when the big moment finally arrived.
But, at 8 a.m., when the doors did at last open, there were only two people in line. Two.
By 8:43 a.m., the guards were forced to awkwardly take down the fencing they had set up only hours before. In other Apple Store locations on Friday, employees reportedly outnumbered customers at the beginning of the day.
To explain this less than enthusiastic response, Weibo users have speculated that perhaps everyone in China is simply waiting for the iPhone X to arrive in November. Another likely explanation for the lack of crowds is the growing preference in China for online shopping with many simply pre-ordering their devices online and having them delivered straight to their door.
Apple Stores in Hong Kong experienced similarly short queues on Friday morning, the South China Morning Post reports, along with a marked increase in the number of worried scalpers, who typically are able to buy iPhones for cheap in Hong Kong before reselling them across the border at a more than tidy profit.
Presumably, the response must also worry Apple, which really needs for its latest devices to be a success following six quarters of sliding sales in Greater China. Before the iPhone 8 launch, there were concerns that the phone’s high price tag would ward off many Chinese shoppers.
Recently, Apple has taken a beating in China from domestic smartphone makers who sell their devices at much lower prices. This year, the company has slipped all the way down to fifth in China’s smartphone market, behind Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi.
But, hey, at least some people like their new iPhone 8s!
Introducing the new iPhone 8 Plus! pic.twitter.com/Jf0YCSMTQa
— Shanghaiist.com (@shanghaiist) September 22, 2017
[Images via web.dskb.co]
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