Apple product launches in China traditionally draw big crowds. Thousands of prospective buyers (and scammers) usually amass outside Apple Stores, all hoping for a chance to buy the latest iDevice. This time around Apple turned to a reservation lottery system to curb some of the chaos. It seemed to work. The new iPad launched in mainland China earlier today and there was nary an uproar.
As seen in the video below filed by Reuters‘ Jon Gordon, there was hardly a crowd at Apple’s flagship Beijing location. According to other reports China’s other Apple Stores saw short lines, too. Previous Apple launches drew huge crowds with some buyers waiting 8-12 hours for the devices.
Apple utilized a reservation system for this launch, which required buyers to select a model and input their government ID to be entered into a lottery pool. Winners were then notified that they won a spot in line. This was done not only to keep the crowds to a minimum but also reduce scammers and scalpers from taking advantage of unsuspecting buyers.
China is currently Apple’s second largest market. It remains to be seen if unscrupulous importers and dealers cut into Apple’s bottom line thanks to the new iPad’s delayed launch in China.
For the foreseeable future the new iPad will only be available in mainland China through this reservation system. That said, the new iPad has been available in neighboring Hong Kong since March, which could also be one of the reasons for the low crowds. Since Hong Kong’s launch the new iPad has been readily available through importers — but of course at a price higher than the MSRP.