iPhone businesses, once bitten, twice shy

Updated: 2014-09-20 06:44

By Zhou Mo in Shenzhen(HK Edition)

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 iPhone businesses, once bitten, twice shy

Traders (bottom) buy the newly-released Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus from people who had successfully purchased the devices earlier from the Apple store on Friday in Mong Kok. Roy Liu / China Daily

Friday was a special day for Apple fans, as the new-generation iPhones - iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus - were released in Hong Kong and eight other markets around the world. While the unveiling of the new devices is likely to spur a new round of shopping spree on smartphone accessories, business owners in Shenzhen remain wary of the potential commercial opportunities, given their past failure in assessing the market.

At Huaqiang North, a high-tech industrial zone in Shenzhen, a vendor of Pisen, an enterprise that develops, produces and sells smartphone accessories, said the company has yet to manufacture cases for the new iPhones, as market demand of the product is uncertain at the present time.

"Right now we don't know (the response of) the market to the new iPhones," he said. "As our factory makes tens of thousands of phone cases at a time, we shall wait and see the market situation before (proceeding to) mass production."

Chen Peiyan, a saleswoman in another electronics store, told China Daily that some companies have learned their lessons from the release of iPhone 4 and now choose to produce new iPhone accessories at a later time.

iPhone businesses, once bitten, twice shy

"Some factories manufactured a large number of iPhone 4 cases in advance in expectation of a huge market demand. However, the reality was that they overestimated the situation and overproduced the product," Chen said. "So this time, they are more cautious."

In the virtual world, however, accessories of new iPhones are hotly traded. Apple lovers rush to Taobao, the biggest online shopping site in mainland, to choose beautiful decorations for their forthcoming new favorites. In an online store that sells digital accessories, 100 iPhone 6 cases are booked in a day. The shop owner said the accessories will be delivered to the buyers next week.

"My boyfriend pre-ordered an iPhone 6 for me on Apple's official website. So I need to buy a lovely phone case in advance to welcome my iPhone baby," a shopper at the online store wrote.

Apple fans raised a buying frenzy on Sept 12 when the California-based company began to accept pre-orders of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus globally. Reservations of the two types of smartphones reached a record high of more than four million in just 24 hours, doubling the figure of iPhone 5, launched in 2012. In Hong Kong, the first batch of new iPhones was snapped up by fans on the first day of its booking.

"Response to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has been incredible, with a record number of pre-orders overnight," Apple's spokeswoman Trudy Muller said.

In Shenzhen's Huangqiang North district, price for a 16-gigabyte grey iPhone 6 has been pushed up to 18,000 yuan ($2932.9), while that for iPhone 5s has dropped several hundred yuan to approximately 3,800 yuan. Some vendors estimate that price of the new smartphone will fall below 10,000 yuan in two or three months' time.

Apple published its second round of selling regions on its official website last Friday, with the mainland absent from the list again. Some people suspect that mainland buyers may not be able to buy the new iPhones within the year.


(HK Edition 09/20/2014 page6)