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Apple restarts online sale of iPhone 4S

By Wang Huazhong and Li Tao (China Daily)

08:47, February 03, 2012

Workers at the Hong Kong Apple Store give customers their Apple iPhone 4S on Nov 11. The iPhone 4S was released on that day in Hong Kong. Aaron Tam / AFP

Apple launches strict policies to keep products away from scalpers

BEIJING/HONG KONG - With organized scalpers working overtime to keep the red-hot iPhone 4S in stock, Apple has adopted new retail policies to regulate orders and delivery of the product in Hong Kong and on the mainland market.

The policies, adopted on Tuesday in Hong Kong and Wednesday in Beijing, follow Apple's nearly three-week block on iPhone 4S sales at mainland stores, and amid media reports that some of the company's suppliers operate sweatshops.

Apple reopened its online ordering service for the iPhone 4S on the Chinese mainland on Wednesday, but customers are given no specific delivery date. Instead, they are told that they will receive their orders of up to two phones in "February".

"If you pay today, you might get the items tomorrow, and no later than March 2," said a staff member on the sales hotline.

Apple suspended all means of direct sales of the iPhone 4S on the mainland immediately at the launch of the product on Jan 13, after scalpers fought one another for position at the front of lines of prospective buyers.

In tandem with the resumption of mainland sales online, the company adopted a lottery reserving system for the phones in Hong Kong.

Market researchers said many of the phones sold in Hong Kong, where taxes on the item are lower, end up on the mainland's gray market.

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