Apple has sold out its iPhone 4 in China in less than a week, creating a market for scalpers looking to profit on the popularity of the latest generation smartphones.
Tech-savvy Chinese customers scooped up 200,000 of the phones within days after they went on sale last Saturday. But lax enforcement of rules limiting the number each customer could buy allowed scalpers to make multiple purchases of the phones at the four Apple stores in China.
News accounts said the scalpers were selling the iPhones for $45 to $90 above the retail price of $746 for the 16-gigabyte model and $895 for the 32-gigabyte version.
Apple was forced to temporarily close one of its two Beijing stores after arguments broke out between scalpers and customers who had been unable to buy a phone. The iPhone 4s have been available for several months on China’s gray market, in which vendors charge increased prices for devices purchased from abroad. China has the world’s largest mobile phone market, with about 800 million subscribers, according to official data.
Apple started selling the iPhone 4 in June in the United States, France, Britain, Germany and Japan.