This Is The Orange Uniformed Army Of Scalpers That Caused China’s iPhone 4S Riots

This Is The Orange Uniformed Army Of Scalpers That Caused China’s iPhone 4S Riots

Remember those riots at the iPhone 4S launch in Shanghai and Beijing last week? Meet the group responsible for them: this orange-capped crowd of scalpers, an army of 500 strong so organized and massive that it took eleven busses to bring them to the event.

The picture above was taken at the Hong Kong Plaza at Huaihai Zhong Road in Shanghai by DFDaily.

A supplemental report by Macenstein says that each of these line-waiters was hired by an organized scalping company (who, judging from the hats, were also perversely using this as an advertising opportunity), who intended on profiting by about 500RMB (or around $78) on the price of every 32GB phone.

Between the five hundred scalpers, each allowed two iPhones each, this group were looking to make about $78,000 from the iPhone 4S launch madness. And since the average income in China is about $11 per day, and the buses imply these were poorer people transported in from the countryside, little of that money probably ended up in the pockets of the actual stormtroopers of this invasion: Chinese peasants.

It’s interesting to note the reaction, though. We think of scalping as pretty much ubiquitous in China, but people were enraged enough at this crowd of scalpers that the Chinese authorities needed to call in S.W.A.T. Obviously, the average Chinese person also thinks scalping is pretty repellant… but what can be done to curb it?

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  • FriarNurgle


    but what can be done to curb it? “
    Only sell iPhones on contract for the first week or two. 

  • Jeff Wilson

    Ever since the policy to sell phones “device only” and “unlocked” for cash instead of new or upgrading existing phone company lines and limiting it to verifiable credit card transactions this has been the result. It just frustrates the local buyer and is disingenuous towards the overall excellent experience of an Apple purchase and it’s employees. Then again, in the end, it is a computer that you can make a call on, not a phone.

  • metroworker

    The scalping practice is awful. Not only does it further exploit the outer-province workers but it prevents legitimate buyers from getting one. Knowing these scalpers are there, few want to get in line to compete.

    Local papers report each scalper gets RMB100 (US $15) per successful iphone purchase. If they do not get anything they just get RMB5 (<us $1)=”” ‘fake’=”” (or=”” (to=”” –=”” 100=”” 50.=”” a=”” accounts=”” after=”” all=”” also=”” amazon.com)=”” and=”” anyway=”” anyway.=”” apparently=”” apple=”” are=”” behooves=”” but=”” buy=”” buyers=”” can=”” card=”” cards=”” cards,=”” china=”” cold=”” content…the=”” credit=”” day=”” do=”” download=”” e-commerce=”” each=”” fake=”” food,=”” food.=”” for=”” from=”” have=”” having=”” hear=”” higher=”” i=”” i.d.=”” ibooks=”” ill=”” illegal=”” in=”” individual=”” is=”” it=”” itunes=”” legitimate=”” likely=”” local=”” locals=”” majority=”” many=”” matching=”” means:=”” minimum=”” must=”” need=”” no=”” not=”” of=”” on=”” one=”” ones=”” online=”” online)=”” or=”” order=”” outer=”” overnight). =”” own=”” pay=”” people=”” personal=”” popular=”” precludes=”” prevent=”” prob=”” province=”” purchase=”” reach=”” require=”” requirements=”” resort=”” rmb=”” scalpers=”” sell=”” similar=”” simply=”” site=”” so=”” so,=”” some=”” stand=”” stuff=”” supposedly=”” taobao,=”” that=”” the=”” their=”” them=”” there=”” they=”” think=”” this=”” this…=”” thought:=”” time=”” to=”” tons=”” too…hmmm.=”” totally=”” vast=”” wants=”” who=”” will=”” with=”” within=”” yes,=””  this=””></us>

  • csman

    These people look only to make some good bucks after selling the 4S to eager fans that will even pay double for it. The article seems to depict them as an evil force. I think these people have higher needs than the fans that want to buy the 4S for themselves.

  • Mike Rathjen

    “but what can be done to curb it?”

    Don’t sell to anyone with an orange cap that says “I’m a damn scalper” on it.

  • Top_Gear

    These people no doubt work for someone who is rich and who will make ‘good bucks’ off the phones. Did you not read the article at all?

  • herms angeles

    my friend’s mother made $263164 so far just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more here Makecash7. cöm

  • Shaunathan Sprocket

    With Houses in the US, (at least here in California) we have a 2 year period from the point you close your sale until you can sell the home.  If you sell it within those two years, you’re charged a “capital gains tax” on the sale.

    Simply do the same thing with high end electronics.  If you sell within a year, you have to pay an extra tax.  That will stop scalpers cold. KEEP READING>>>  If your argument against this is that you say they will then sell them on some sort of black market, well then, you up the enforcement.  We have laws against that, China does too, if they choose to enforce them…

  • SolarSaves

    How funny!

    Major problem with that idea is that houses do not move, (well except for some in California during earthquakes and mudslides) so their locations can be tracked and taxed…

    and it is alot easier to sell an electronic device than a house, since you don’t need a deed or a mortgage to purchase an iPhone…

    Sorry dude, your idea is not even remotely possible, laws or no laws, how are you going to track hundreds of millions of smart phones all over the world and then collect a tax when someone sells it, since they generally won’t be re-sold by institutions that collect taxes?

  • djrobsd

    Real simple.  Credit card and ID required to purchase iPhone.  Activation required IN STORE.  Cancel service within 30 days and receive a $500 dollar penalty.

  • Jason Dyman Low

    Scalping would be made obsolete if availability can be guaranteed.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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