Why there were no long lines for iPhone 5’s China launch

“There is a reasonable explanation for today’s quiet iPhone 5 launch [in China]. Apple recently had a new reservation system in China to avoid scuffles (see last year’s iPhone 4S launch that ends with egg throwing),” Chris Chang reports for M.I.C. Gadget. “Since the last time we saw massive crowds outside Beijing Apple store when Apple launched the iPhone 4S, the lines were so crazy and unfortunately, riots happened. Thus it forced Apple to shut down the launch and not sell phones to the Chinese consumers. So, Apple created a new reservation system. Chinese consumers have to reserve a product online before they can buy it in the store. For the new iPad, the iPad mini, and today’s iPhone 5 launch, Chinese consumers are required to follow Apple’s new rules.”

“Actually, there’s another reason why no one shows up for today’s iPhone 5 launch,” Chang reports. “Apple is not offering contract-free iPhone 5 units for sale in all retail stores in mainland China. We sent a email to Apple China asking for the availability of contract-free iPhone 5, and here’s what Apple replied, ‘Thanks for your email. As it appears now, the only way to purchase an unlocked phone will be online. Only contract iPhone 5 phones will be sold in store. We are continuously monitoring our website for any changes.’ The unsubsidized iPhone 5 starts from ¥5,288 or about $850 if you reserve one from Apple’s China site.”

Chang reports, “So, the reason why the iPhone 5 fails to draw crowds for China launch is that China Apple Stores are only offering iPhone 5 on a contract with China Telecom to walk-in customers. In the past, where thousands of people lined up outside the Beijing Apple Store and Shanghai Apple Store on iPhone 4S launch day, walk-in customers are allowed to purchase contract-free iPhones, and no online reservation is needed. Here’s the verdict. For any futures Apple product launch, we will no longer see long queues outside China Apple Stores. Never. Ever.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
iPhone 5 surpasses 300,000 reservations with China Unicom in first week – December 10, 2012
China Unicom’s iPhone 5 reservations double to 200,000 in 3 days – December 6, 2012
China Unicom racks up 100,000 iPhone 5 preorders in first day – December 4, 2012


  1. Who really cares? Why bother explaining? Now, no news is good news. Any news is bad news. If you believe in AAPL, stay put. Bottomline drives results over LT. If you cannot endure volaitilty, AAPL is not ideal for you.

      1. 7% drop one day last week because of misinterpretation of news, another 4% drop this week because of another misinterpretation of news, 11% drop because people can’t read news? Why people can’t read English all of a sudden?

  2. There were no long lines at the iPhone 5 china launch because apple decided the iPhone 5 is not in need of a promotion due to it’s established popularity. The money saved from paying people to show up at the launch will be set aside for an 2013 iPhone 5s or iPhone 6 launch.

  3. Another important point: iphones are being sold in 1000s of venues across China, including big electronic chains such as Suning and the various retail outlets of the two telecoms involved with Apple: China Telecom and China Unicom. The latter is much bigger than the former, and reportedly their stores in major cities such as Guangzhou and Naning were mobbed by iPhone 5 buyers. The day when Apple products were sold soley by Apple stores is long past, especially for iphones.

  4. Chinese consumers found out that Foxconn was using children to assemble iPhones and decided to boycott all of Apple products. That was one reason out of about 20 sound reasons why Apple’s share price has tanked more than any other tech company in recent memory. Apple lost more than two-and-a-half RIMs in one day.


  5. TOMORROW, the traders/speculators on Wall Street will take Apple down another 100 points because they didn’t sell 100 MILLION iPhones …. And Apple ? They’ll do NOTHING…. WHY????

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.