“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,” Wayne Ma and Josh Chin report for The Wall Street Journal.

“Apple is requiring Chinese customers to participate in an online lottery one day in advance to buy the wifi-version of the iPad Mini at its seven retail stores in China,” Ma and Chin report. “Those selected, however, are limited to two iPad Minis each and must bring photo identification. The Cupertino, Calif. company instituted the iReserve system in China after a near-riot occurred during the release of the iPhone 4S in January, leading police to seal off part of the flagship store in Beijing’s high-end Sanlitun Village mall. The state-run Xinhua news agency later blamed the chaos on a clashes between rival groups of scalpers vying to buy up as much of the stores limited supplies of the device as possible.”

Ma and Chin report, “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. Li Yongqiang, 18, said he wasn’t picked in the lottery to purchase the iPad Mini but still arrived at 8:30 a.m. to observe the atmosphere. Mr. Li said scalpers met with a crowd of about a hundred outside the Apple store to discuss the process of purchasing the iPad Mini. The crowd appeared to be predominantly made up of customers there to purchase the product on behalf of scalpers, he added. It’s not clear how the scalpers were able to get so many of their people selected for the lottery.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The Wi-Fi-only versions of iPad mini launched today in China. Reservation requests are accepted daily from 9am to 5pm and began on Thursday, December 6th. In China, Apple Retail Stores have a reservation system to avoid issues between regular customers who line up for new products and scalpers.

Related article:
Apple: iPad mini, 4th gen. iPad arrive in China on Dec. 7th; iPhone 5 on Dec. 14th – November 30, 2012