Behind the Money

Apple Fever Hits Hong Kong as iPhone 4S Sells Out in 3 Hours

The Apple Store in Hong Kong Plaza.

The scene could have been mistaken for Apple’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City as fans lined up in droves at Apple’s retail store in Hong Kong, gobbling up the store’s supply of the new iPhone 4S in three hours, according to a Chinese tech site and confirmed by an analyst.

It was the first Apple mob experienced by the store located in Hong Kong Plaza, which opened in September. The first iPhone was released in the U.S. in June 2007, causing fans to line up for days outside Apple and AT&T stores. Four years later, the thrill is still there, just now it’s worldwide.

“Our own checks this morning indicate that the Apple authorized resellers in Hong Kong also sold out early in the day,” said Brian White of Ticondergoa Securities, in a note. “Today’s sellout follows our checks in Hong Kong last Friday that indicated the iPhone 4S pre-orders sold out in less than ten minutes. The Hong Kong Apple online store indicates that there is no supply of the iPhone 4S available.”

China is becoming a bigger part of the Apple growth story with the Greater China region accounting for 16 percent of total sales for the company last quarter, up from a mere two percent of sales for all of 2009, according to White.

Still, Apple shares are off 11 percent from their all time high hit last month on a myriad of concerns: from the company’s direction following Steve Jobs’ passing to speculation of iPhone component cuts that could point to slack demand.

“iPhones are going to have a blowout holiday quarter and I’m long Apple as a result,” said Adam Muller of hedge fund Chester Hill Capital. “If I had any concern, it’s iPad-related as consumers try out Amazon's Kindle Fire and the Nook from Barnes &Noble. However, longer term with iPad being integrated into the enterprise space and a 2012 product refresh on the way, demand will remain very strong.”

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