Vietnamese camp outside Singapore shops in wait of iPhone 7

By Bao Anh   September 13, 2016 | 10:35 pm PT
Retailers in Vietnam are willing to pay students to be first in line.

Demand among tech-geeks is soaring since Apple's release of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus last week, and unhinged Apple fans in Vietnam are no exception.

Many are determined to be the first to buy the new device. However, Apple doesn't have a direct retail presence in the country, so the eager fans have to go the extra mile to get their hands on a new phone.

Vietnamese dealers and resellers have quickly spotted a lucrative business opportunity here and are willing to pay line-sitters who may have to camp outside outlets in Singapore for a couple of days leading up to the iPhone's launch there this Friday.

Some Vietnamese living in Singapore have posted ads on Facebook asking for VND2 million ($90) to camp out overnight to be the first in line for the new phone.

“It seems long to wait in line for 24 hours. But you will stay occupied playing card games, shooting the breeze with your fellows and even shopping in the mall,” a Facebook account named Son Le said in an advertising status.

Any time that Apple launches a new product, there is an influx of such requests posted in the online technology community, and this time Apple’s true aficionados in Vietnam are still impatient to get those phones.

“We will handle paying the bills. All you have to do is to be the first in line. And more importantly, you can get paid much higher for an iPhone 7 Plus in the new color Jet Black,” Thang, a reseller in Hanoi, told VnExpress.

Quang, a dealer in Ho Chi Minh City, said the interest in line-sitters has been growing in the weeks leading up to the launch this weekend. He said due to the whopping demand, people will ask to be paid much more than than they were last time and securing a spot in the line is important, so Quang decided to fly his staff to Singapore.

“This time we will probably have to wait in line for a couple days,” said Quang. “The business is also quite risky. The price could slump heavily by a few million dong. There is a chance we could make a loss on this,” he said.


A group of Vietnamese camp outside a reseller store in Singapore during an iPhone launch in 2015. File photo

As many have witnessed during the last couple of iPhone launches, a growing number of resellers in Vietnam have been hiring line-sitters in Singapore to sell the phones on the domestic market.

A retailer in Hanoi, after careful consideration, chose to turn to Vietnamese students in Singapore who want to make some cash to cover their tuition fees.

“It costs much more to fly from here to Singapore,” said a Hanoi-based re-seller, adding that it is about $100 cheaper to take a direct flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore than it is from Hanoi.

“We have no choice but pay people who are currently living on the island to queue up and send just one person from here over with the money,” he explained, adding that he has five Vietnamese students working for him.

In addition to camping out for the new iPhone, there are other opportunities to earn some money for anyone who is about to travel from Singapore to Vietnam next week. They can make a quick buck of about $25 for a phone just by taking it back with them on board.

Shops in Hanoi are charging consumers double the price quoted by Apple for an iPhone 7 Plus 256 GB, with a promise that buyers will be the first Vietnamese to get their hands on a new iPhone.

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