China iPad mini Launch Muted, Unless You’re a Scalper

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Like the launch in the rest of the world, launch of the iPad mini in China has been muted, unless you’re a scalper.

While there were some crowds at the launch of the iPad mini in November, they weren’t the round-the-block lines at every store that we’ve seen before. In China, where there were near-riots at the launch of the iPhone 4S, which led to Apple putting a lottery system in place for getting the iPad mini this go round. Shoppers are limited to buying two iPad minis at a time and must show photo ID. This is a dual-purpose tactic to both control crowds, but also control scalpers from buying up all the stock. Today, however, with the iPad mini launch the WSJ is reporting no crowds or packed stores:

The release of Apple Inc.’s iPad Mini on Friday at its flagship store in Beijing was missing the massive and unruly crowds reminiscent of some the company’s previous product launches in China, but scalpers were still out in force despite rules making it tougher for them to buy most of the stock. Via: WSJ

Few shoppers where seen to be buying and keeping iPad minis for themselves, rather they were handing them over to scalpers for cash:

On Friday morning, Apple’s Sanlitun store opened to no crowds, but a large group of scalpers was standing a hop and skip from the store entrance collecting iPad Minis from Chinese customers in exchange for cash. Behind them, on a nearby bench, sat tall stacks of the devices.

We’ll have to see what next Friday brings when the iPhone 5 launches in China. With China Unicom already with over 200,000 preorders, it could be a pretty chaotic day.

Photo from the WSJ.

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