By Henry Williams.
It seems that iScalpers continue to be a problem across China. Friday’s launch of the iPad Mini in China drew large crowds, not of the usual type of shopper, but instead scalpers, who bought every Apple product available.
January’s launch of the iPhone 4S in China was marred by scuffles amongst the hundreds [of scalpers] lined up to buy the smartphone in Beijing – sales were stopped in all Chinese Apple stores before they even opened their doors.
Since then purchasers have been required to enter in to a lottery-style draw for the chance to purchase the device the following day (limited to two per person).
However, as with the launch in Hong Kong, last week’s Chinese launch of the iPad Mini saw scalpers waiting close to the store paying cash for the iPads of others leaving the stores.
A reporter for the Wall Street Journal was accosted by angry scalpers when he took out his video camera to film them:
In a sign of how unruly such launches can still be, one group of scalpers surrounded a Wall Street Journal reporter who was trying to film the scene, angry at what they said 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.
It remains to be seen how much of a mark-up the scalpers can put on their purchases. Mark Newman, an analyst for Sanford Bernstein, says that demand might be weaker in China because of the high competition in the market:
“Most Chinese consumers have a modest disposable income, and a lot of them are going for cheaper offerings,” Mr. Newman said. “We believe the mass market is more interested in specs rather than brand-similar to what we’ve seen for smartphones in China.”