Friday, November 27, 2015   

Peanut profits for iPhone punters

Hilary Wong

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Apple has launched its new iPhones but their simultaneous release in Hong Kong and the mainland has diminished the hopes of parallel traders to cash in as they have done with previous models.

Traders said the price difference of a few hundred dollars to about HK$1,000 between Hong Kong and the mainland is too small to cause the buying frenzy that was seen in recent years when the city was a major source for Apple products.

The latest iPhone models - 5S and 5C - also drew mixed reactions, with many saying they are too expensive.

For example, the 16GB model of the 5S will be priced at 5,288 yuan, equivalent to HK$6,700 or about HK$1,100 more than the Hong Kong price of HK$5,588.

Even with the 5C, aimed at the lower-end market, the difference is small.

"It is not cheap at all," a Hong Kong netizen cried out on his blog while pointing to the HK$4,688 price tag.

"The price of the 5C 32GB model is the same as the 5S 16GB. What a joke."

In the mainland, Apple is offering its newest iPhones through smaller wireless carriers and has yet to announce a deal with China Mobile, which has a customer base of almost 745 million - more than twice the size of the US population.

The new models are being released through the China Unicom and China Telecom networks starting this month.

China Unicom, the second-largest domestic carrier, and No 3 China Telecom already sell iPhones, with both operators dwarfed by China Mobile.

In Hong Kong, traders at Sin Tat Plaza in Mong
Kok showed less enthusiasm than for previous launches.

A woman who has worked in telecom trading for eight years said parallel traders still have some hopes, though she expects the rush to buy new phones would not last more than two months. "We need to see the quantity provided in the market. The buying trend could vary depending on the demand for certain 5C colors," she said.

When the iPhone 4S was released last year, the HK$4,788 models could fetch as much as HK$8,000 in parallel trading.

With the iPhone 5, priced at more than HK$5,000, the highest price reached was HK$9,000.

"We really cannot predict the situation this time as the iPhone 5C and 5S will be released in the mainland and Hong Kong at the same time," she said.

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