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Hong Kong ready for new iPhone, while China still waits

The crowds have been lining up for more than 24 hours outside Hong Kong's flagship Apple store as they await Friday's release of the iPhone 4S.

gadgets Updated: Nov 10, 2011 14:02 IST

The crowds have been lining up for more than 24 hours outside Hong Kong's flagship Apple store as they await Friday's release of the iPhone 4S.



Such is the buzz around town about the new gadget that police and security guards have been called in after some in line were accused of taking up positions in the queue in order to pick up the maximum allotment of five being allowed to each customer just so they could then pass them on to local retailers -- and make an extra HK$1,000 (€93) on the side for their efforts.



The iPhone 4S models are set to retail for between HK$5,088 (€475) and HK$6,688 (€625) in Hong Kong but just how much they can be resold for on the black market over the border in China is at this stage anyone's guess. The device has been on sale in the United States for more than a month but there has so far been no word on when it might be officially released in China.



There is little doubt Chinese consumers will snap up the phone when it is released, a fact confirmed by a recent survey that has claimed now that more than 35 percent of urban Chinese use smartphones -- making the country the third largest market for the devices in the world.



According to the survey, released by Google Inc in conjunction with the research company Ipsos, China trails only Singapore (62 percent) and Australia (37 percent) in terms of smartphone saturation.



In China, the survey questioned 2,000 people from seven of the country's largest large cities -- Shenyang, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Chengdu, Wuhan and Guangzhou.



The report also claimed that China had the highest proportion of smartphone ownership in the Asia-Pacific region -- because it found one out of three people in urban China have at least two smartphones.



Overall, the survey on smartphone use was based on 30,000 interviewees from 30 countries and regions.



A separate report released by Morgan Stanley in September claimed that Apple had replaced Nokia as the leading smartphone brand in China, now taking 34 percent of the market to Nokia's 16 percent.