The Tornado of iPhone 6

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Smugglers’ Deal
Just like many of my friends, I’ m expected to buy at least two iphone6s for friends or relatives in mainland. These days you don’t have to be a smuggler to smuggle.

FP Tech Desk believed that the likely delayed launch of Apple Inc’s new iPhone 6 in mainland, the world’s biggest smart phone market, sparked a race to pre-order the phone in Hong Kong on Friday.

According to the report, Pre-orders for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sold out within two hours on Apple’s Hong Kong website – and many of those devices will be smuggled across the border into mainland China, where they could change hands for as much as four times the Hong Kong price.

Why not mainland?
PC World reminded that last year, Apple made sure to give Chinese consumers first dibs on its latest iPhone. Starting in 2011, the “Greater China” region, which includes mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, has become Apple’s second largest market behind the U.S.

According to the report, Apple didn’t comment on why the iPhone 6 won’t arrive on the Chinese mainland on Sept. 19, but regulatory checks by the Chinese government may be to blame.

procurement service on Taobao
procurement service on Taobao

“The iPhone 6 has yet to receive the necessary “network access” license from local regulators. It’s a certification that all commercially sold mobile phones in China must receive.”— Gene Cao, an analyst with Forrester Research.

Over a year ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook also reportedly said that China’s regulatory checks had delayed previous product launches in the country. In some cases, Apple’s iPhone and iPad have arrived in the market weeks or months after they first went on sale in the U.S., reported by Michael Kan.

What explains this Chinese craze for Apple?
As early as 2012, Harvard Business Review China  started to explore the reasons behind China’s large sales of Apple products.

Instead of attributing the reasons to the “Apple Cult” and Apple’s successful marketing strategy , the article referred to the fact that there is a large group of scalpers specializing in and profiting from Apple products, and that Chinese consumers are more than willing to pay a premium.

People line up to buy iPhone at a China mobile store in Wuhan, Hubei province. Reuters
People line up to buy iPhone at a China mobile store in Wuhan, Hubei province. Reuters

“What I see in China is a large group of consumers increasingly indulging in their thirst for and worship of luxury goods. It’s as if they’ve been brainwashed. Chinese consumers have become the world’s most ardent worshipers of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Bentley, Cartier and Hermès. They are willing to queue up around the world not only for Apple products but also for these other luxury products.”—-Xin Haiguang

Admitting the fact that there will always be young people that advocate vanity and that are obsessed with fashion in every society, the report added that it’s not that big of a deal that China has the largest group of Apple fans or “fetishists” in the world. In any case, an Apple fetish is no less holy than the worship of God or other idols if we ignore concepts such as hedonism or distorted social values. The “fetishism” could be merely reflecting a reality: people are collectively turning themselves into Apple believers in a society where faith has been largely absent.

A Hidden Decline?
As Apple Tuesday unveiled the iPhone 6, the South China Morning Post reports lagging preorder phone sales have lent the impression iPhone fever is down in the world’s second-biggest economy.

“You won’t believe [the cold reception for the iPhone 6] if you compare it to the fever of their previous release.” —an online store merchant

As International Business Times reported, Apple has had political headaches, too. As a result of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, China’s wealthy and powerful have shunned ostentatious displays, and many are now fearful displaying a luxury item — such as an iPhone — may land them in trouble. Meanwhile, in July, China Central Television, the country’s state-run television network, accused Apple of using location tracking devices embedded in iPhones to spy on its users.

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