No crowds at Apple stores in China as iPhone 8 launches – CNET


Few people showed up at Apple stores in China when the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus arrived, forcing staff to remove crowd control barricades.

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It’s a meaningful day for iPhone fans around the world. Apple’s iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have arrived, and despite shorter lines and smaller crowds than previous launches, some die-hard fans have queued as long as 10 days to be among the first to lay their hands on the new phones.

A user posts photos taken outside the Apple store in Hangzhou, China, including one that shows security guards removing crowd control barricades.

Screengrab by Zoey Chong/CNET

It’s vastly different in China, though, where internet users and local publications have observed queues so short that staff at Apple stores had to remove crowd control barriers. The same has been observed in Hong Kong, reports the South China Morning Post.

That’s not to say the Chinese aren’t excited about Apple’s new gadgets at all. On Twitter-esque platform Weibo, some Chinese internet users say they’d rather wait for the iPhone X, Apple’s anniversary edition which is set to arrive in November.

Others suggest we’re not seeing the usual crowds because it’s so much easier to place an order online now — via Apple’s official website or its official shops on online platforms such as Alibaba’s Tmall, which delivers the phone to your doorstep.

Chinese iPhone buyers can place an order for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus on online shopping platforms and have the device delivered to their doorsteps.

Screenshot by Zoey Chong/CNET

Nevertheless, the lack of enthusiasm is worrying scalpers in China and Hong Kong, who try to cash in on the new phone releases by taking preorders or selling stocks immediately after receiving new devices for profit. In Hong Kong in particular, scalpers may end up with a loss given Apple has tightened return policies there, forbidding exchange and refunds unless the product is defective. One person in Hong Kong who sold two iPhone 8 Plus phones to a Russian trader said he earned only half of what he used to make, according to SCMP.  In China, profits are now lesser than 100 yuan (about $15).

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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