Business / Technology

Fans spend hours in line for iPhones

By Eric Jou ( Updated: 2014-10-17 17:31

Fans spend hours in line for iPhones

Apple fan Liu Yi shows off his iPhone 6. The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, originally released in September in the US, were released in China on Friday, Oct 17. Liu has been one of the first in line for every iPhone launched in China. [Liu Zheng/] 

About 100 Apple fans gathered in front of Taikooli Apple Store in downtown Beijing before the launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones in China on Friday morning.

Some of them were standing in line after ordering the smartphones online, while others had traveled all the way from neighboring cities.

"I came all the way from Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, to pick up the phone," said Song, who works in sales. "I purchased an iPhone 6 and an iPhone 6 Plus as gifts for my wife. I got two so she can choose."

The atmosphere in the morning was happy, with eager fans in line receiving praise and greetings from the employees of the Apple Store.

Chinese media reported that the situation was similar across the tech giant's stores in China. China News Service reports that there were lines of customers waiting all night for new iPhones at China Unicom locations in Taiyuan, Shanxi province. China Unicom even posted images of people waiting in line in various provinces on its official account on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblog.

Originally released in September, Apple sold more than 10 million units of its new smartphones within the first weekend. Early news reports from Chinese tech giant Tencent's media outlet, QQ News, reported that sales could easily reach past 20 million in China alone.

Recent university graduate surnamed Tong was in front of the Apple Store in downtown Beijing on Friday. He wasn't in line to purchase a new iPhone, but to enjoy the atmosphere.

"I'm here to join in the fun," said Tong. "I've been a fan of Apple products for a long time and I frequently visit the Apple Store."

Friday's launch went smoothly and despite the modest physical turn-out, the launch is expected be a boost for the US-based technology company.

Wang Jingwen, an analyst with Canalys, said Apple fever in China is as hot as ever.

"Consumers have learned different ways to purchase Apple products, from ordering online to ordering from retailers and carriers," said Wang. "I believe that Apple has also put out information informing consumers on where they can buy iPhones."

The launch of the iPhone 6 Plus is also Apple's first foray into the 'phablet' market. 'Phablet' is a term for phones with screen sizes that are nearly as large as tablet computers.

According to Wang, the 'phablet' market in China is growing and that the devices are eating into the tablet computing market.

"There really isn't a competitor to the iPhone 6 Plus in the market,"said Wang. "The 6 Plus at 5.5 inches might turn away consumers from new tablet devices, not just in China but everywhere.

College student surnamed Zhang visited the Apple Store with her boyfriend. She said she was impressed with the bigger screen of the iPhone 6S.

"I personally like larger phones. I used to have a Samsung phone," said Zhang. "I really like it (iPhone 6), I've already decided that I want one."

Fans spend hours in line for iPhones
Fans spend hours in line for iPhones
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