The launch of the iPhone 4S in Hong Kong resulted in a chaotic scene with thousands of people lining up to buy a phone, according to multiple reports.
Chris Chang of M.I.C. Gadget, a gadget blog focused on China, says there were over 3,000 people in line to get the phone. He also says Apple was only allowing 1,300 people to stand in line, and when people were asked to leave, it almost got ugly. Police stepped in to keep things under control.
The line wasn’t filled with Apple fans hoping to get the latest phone, but rather people hoping to buy a phone then flip it immediately afterwards making a few bucks on the sale.
Andrew Leyden of Penguin Six described it:
The scene is pretty surreal. These are not “Apple Fanboys” by any stretch, but low income migrant workers from places like Pakistan, Indonesia, etc. There are men, women, old grandmothers, even some infant babies who are bundled up tight for the long night ahead. There are also plenty of wannabe-Triad boys, gathered together with funky haircuts and tattoos, many of them with their faces covered by surgical masks (and it’s not because they have a cold). Each iPhone they are able to buy will bring a profit of about $100US, which is the same as a weeks wages in some of the lower income jobs in Hong Kong. If the limit is 5 iPhones per person, they’ll each clear a month’s worth of work so you begin to understand while they are willing to sleep outside all night.
And here’s a video Leyden shot of the scene: