Last week we told you about a new online lottery system for reservations that Apple setup for iPhone 4S sales through its Hong Kong stores to combat scalpers after it was forced to suspend sales of the device in various locations throughout Mainland China. Unfortunately, until this week, Apple’s online store for China has been out of stock since the overwhelming launch.
After implementing the new reservation policies on Tuesday, and in Beijing on Wednesday, Apple has now resumed online sales of the device with shipments arriving to customers no later than March 2, reported ChinaDaily. Apple’s online store for Mainland China now lists the iPhone 4S with an expected delivery time of “February.” Customers are limited to two devices with all three models currently available in both black and white. An Apple employee confirmed the March 2 date to ChinaDaily:
“If you pay today, you might get the items tomorrow, and no later than March 2.”
According to a report from Beijing Times (via Marbridge Daily), Beijing Apple stores in Xidan and Sanlitun are still not selling the iPhone 4S and have not decided on a timeframe for resuming sales for walk-in customers. With the introduction of the lottery reservation system, Apple did not disclose the number of available devices, but confirmed it will “not be selling the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S to walk-in customers.”
ChinaDaily said prices for iPhone 4S on the gray market in Beijing are not likely to increase due to a more than adequate supply from Hong Kong. One scalper said it is easy to find “40 or 50″ iPhones, but Apple store employees have actually reported seeing a decrease in scalpers…
Despite industry analysts in Beijing being worried “scalpers may find ways to circumvent the restrictions” of Apple’s new reservation policies, Apple store employees in Beijing’s Xidan business district said they have noticed a decrease in the number of scalpers selling iPhones near the store since online sales resumed:
“Since we began accepting online orders yesterday, not as many people have been hawking iPhones nearby as before.”
After receiving the necessary approvals from Chinese regulators, China’s third-largest carrier, China Telecom, announced last month it would be the second official carrier to offer Apple’s iPhone 4S with a launch expected by the end of February or early March. For the iPhone 4S launch in China last month, China Unicom remained Apple’s exclusive partner. The deal with China Telecom would allow Apple to tap into the carrier’s more than 36.3 million 3G subscribers currently on the network.