Gold rush for new iPhone in China
APPLE'S first gold-colour iPhone sold out immediately in Hong Kong and mainland China, according to reports and online buyers desperate to snap up the new status symbol.
State-run news website sh.eastday.com reported yesterday that the gold iPhone 5s models were quickly bought up after online pre-orders began on Tuesday morning.
"The Apple reservation page went down once. In forums, many people talked about how they were begging to buy the gold model," it said, adding that by 1pm on Tuesday all three 5s colours - the others being silver and "space grey" - in every store had been reserved.
Favoured by emperors and representing wealth and luxury in Chinese culture, gold has become a badge of the country's newly wealthy.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 5s were launched at 6am on Tuesday in both Hong Kong and mainland China.
"Right after it started, the champagne-gold model was sold out," Phoenix TV - a Hong Kong-based broadcaster with most of its audience living on the mainland - said on its website.
It was not clear how many gold phones had been made available for pre-orders.
Users on Hong Kong forums who had managed to pre-order the grey or silver version of the phone were looking to trade it for a gold one.
"Do I have to wait a while for there to be more stock? From the bottom of my heart, I really want a 32GB gold iPhone," sliverfly said on Hong Kong forum Discuss.com.
Although Hong Kong resellers say demand is down for the new 5s and 5c models because they are also available on the mainland - the first simultaneous launch in both markets - one dealer said that the gold phones could be resold at a profit.
"Gold represents you are actually holding a new phone," said Mr Lau Chi-kong of G-world Mobile. "There will be (a margin) of a few hundred dollars to a thousand (Hong Kong dollars)".
Another told Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily that the gold iPhones could sell for at least HK$8,000 (S$1,300), a HK$2,000 mark-up on the official price.
There are rumours on some mainland Chinese technology websites about the possibility of a new gold-colour iPad.
Apple's Hong Kong website yesterday took down the link to the 5s pre-order page, saying reservations would resume on Saturday.
The company brought in the pre-order system in Hong Kong after chaos at the iPhone 4S launch in 2011, when hundreds queued for days to buy a phone from the city's flagship store and resellers crowded the area.
And in January last year, Apple suspended sales of the 4S at its China stores after fans desperate to get their hands on it fought with security and threw eggs at an official outlet.