One in three internet users in Hong Kong is likely to join a frenzy on Tuesday morning for an iPhone 6, an airline ticket or an early-bird ticket to next year’s Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon.
The events will take place separately online but within hours of each other, with the Hong Kong marathon registration opening at 7 a.m. and Cathay Pacific Airways launching its popular seat sales for bargain hunters an hour earlier, about the time the iPhone 6 goes on sale.
Our money is on the iPhone 6 dominating the action.
After all, who wouldn’t want to make a quick, tidy profit from buyers who can’t wait for the new iPhone to become available in the mainland.
Now that China is not even in the second batch of countries where the iPhone 6 will be sold next, speculators in Hong Kong are expected to make an even bigger killing.
As for the discounted CX tickets, well, they could get you to a place you would never have been able to afford otherwise.
We’re not sure what an early bird gets in the Hong Kong Marathon registration; it’s too early to even talk about it but people do want in early all the same.
Not even tropical cyclone Kalmaegi, which is expected to hit Hong Kong late Monday — which means its tailwind could still be felt early Tuesday — can stop the online storm.
In fact, if more people stay home until the weather clears on Tuesday, we can expect most of them to be online. Who knows where their wanderings will lead them?
Four years ago, Apple began online pre-orders for the iPhone 4 in Hong Kong to prevent speculators buying it up and reselling to mainland buyers at a huge profit.
Apple has since adopted the system for subsequent launches of the iPhone and iPad.
It was not until the iPhone 5 that the market for the device softened after buyers found nothing new or significantly better than the previous model.
With hindsight, many would agree that the iPhone 5c was a flop until its upmarket sibling, the iPhone 5s, excited the market with premium pricing in Hong Kong and mainland China.
Two years ago, Cathay Pacific came up with a smart way to sell more tickets by offering last-minute flights at a discount.
CX Fanfare was born in October 2012 and since then, every Tuesday at 8 a.m., discounted tickets have been sold online. Within a year, the sale created so much buzz that today it draws three million hits for the weekly offer of 2,000 air tickets.
Last month, when it launched HK$100 tickets for selected destinations with premium economy and business class, CX attracted more than 150,000 buyers in the first 30 minutes. All tickets were sold in two hours.
Then there is the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon which attracts more than 70,000 runners each year.
Now in its 19th year, the biggest outdoor sporting event in Hong Kong, has a happy problem: how to manage a wildly popular section of the race.
It seems that more and more people want to join the 10-kilometer section of the race which could be a logistical nightmare for organizers who are faced with an ever tightening space for the marathon route each year.
Which is why an early indication of next year’s attendance by advance online registration would help.
Sure, thousands of people spend hours on the internet without getting what they want but they always come back, especially if there are special offers or lucky draw — or simply to get in line.
Come to think of it, Hong Kong people simply love the idea. Stand anywhere there’s a queue, and you’ll soon see a line form behind you.
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