Well, not really a rant. Just frustration.
If you were to go to the US Apple web site today (as I did just now), you can buy an unsubsidized iPhone 6 and wait 7 to 10 days for shipping.
If you go to the Hong Kong Apple web site today (as I did just now), you cannot buy an iPhone 6. It just says “currently unavailable.”
I tried the system for reserving one for pick-up in a store that day. Woke up at 7:50, got to my computer and just started hitting refresh. Up until 7:59, come back later. At 8 AM, a code. You have to send an SMS with that code to Apple and they send you a reservation code. You then have to input that on the web site. But I was unable to get my SMS delivered until almost 8:20 AM. 20 minutes of “not delivered/try again.” And the result was no phone.
Apple announced that they sold 10 million iPhones on opening day. It’s probably more like, took 10 million orders. Reportedly they are manufacturing 400,000 per day through their various out-sourced suppliers.
Here in Hong Kong, those people who are lucky enough to get through buy as many as they can. (You’re allowed 2 iPhone 6′s and 2 iPhone 6 Plus’s per order.) Mostly they are not buying them for themselves. They’re buying them to sell at a profit.
Word is that all of this reselling is causing Mong Kok prices to drop, but if you consider that the top of the line iPhone 6 plus was selling for up to HK$20,000 in Mong Kok (against a list price of roughly HK$8,000), a 25% drop in price still makes it too damned expensive. And with the drop in prices, there are reports that people are now hoarding them to bring to HuangQiangBei in Shenzhen to sell there. I’ve seen friends posting photos of their purchases on Facebook. Now and then I’ll leave a comment asking if they’d sell one to me and the response is invariably, “No, I want to wait a few days and see how much profit I can make.”
Yesterday the Hong Kong police failed to arrest some smugglers who were loading boxes of iPhones onto a boat in Sai Kung at night. They left behind 15 boxes with 130 phones. Who knows how many they got away with? We can certainly guess how they managed to get so many.
I’m not going to pay a premium to get one. And I’m not going to order one through a mobile company such as 3 or SmarTone as I don’t want to get stuck into another 2 year contract.
So I just have to wait. It’s just a pain waking up before 8 every morning and sitting in front of the computer only to be disappointed. Frustration grows and my desire to get one grows in proportion to my inability to get one.
Here’s a site that’s tracking availability of iPhones in local shops. I have no idea of how accurate this information is. C refers to the shop in Causeway Bay, I to the shop in IFC in Central, F for Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong.
Of course all of this insanity is because the iPhone 6 isn’t available legally in China yet. I almost wonder if Apple has colluded with the Chinese government to make them scarce here to take HKers’ minds off democracy.
I mean, let’s face it, there is no good news in Hong Kong these days. Here are just a few headlines from today’s paper:
- Rafael Hui got secret $11m payment from Beijing
- Scuffles break out as students call on CY Leung to meet for talks on political reform
- Ex-housing boss to lead arts hub (so it won’t be an “arts hub” much longer, but who ever expected promises to be kept?)
- Thousands join Hong Kong students’ democracy protest as classroom boycott begins (okay, a grand statement, but it won’t change a thing)
- Ex-civil servant who poured boiling water on maid avoids jail
- Beijing to take a more active role in Hong Kong’s affairs (so “one country two systems” didn’t make it 15 years, let alone the promised 50)
- One in five Hong Kongers “considering emigration” as pessimism hangs over city
- Beijing shifts from indulgence to hard line on Hong Kong
And lets not forget about how last week Hong Kong’s air pollution hit new record highs as Guangdong factories went full-speed to pump out as much product as they could before the week-long break starting next week.
So yeah, I’d rather think about getting an iPhone 6 because the real news is just too fucking depressing.
UPDATE: Yes, writing this post unjinxed me. This morning I was able to get through the reservation system and have a iPhone 6 reserved for pick up today. Last night while doing some checking around, I found that local Chinese language web sites DCFever and HKGolden have hundreds if not thousands of ads for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. While most people are asking for relatively extreme mark-ups, there are also quite a lot listed at just HK$100 or $200 above the regular list price. One sort of tip for HKGolden – if you’re trying to register there, I’m told they will actually only accept registration from certain email domains. In other words, I was unable to register using my email addresses from Gmail, Yahoo or Netvigator. One friend, who works for the local government, told me he had to use his government email to be able to successfully register there.