Asia snaps up Apple’s first gold-colored iPhone

Updated 22 September 2013
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Asia snaps up Apple’s first gold-colored iPhone

SINGAPORE: Asian consumers have snapped up Apple’s first gold-colored iPhone, but many were left disappointed and frustrated at missing out during Friday’s highly anticipated global launch of the 5S.
From Japan to Singapore, China and Hong Kong, there was a particular clamor for the gold-colored version, closely associated with wealth in Asian cultures.
It was not clear how many of the golden 5S — also available in silver and “space grey” — were available.
Some people had been able to pre-order, if they were fast enough, but those who had not queued early — or even overnight — to get a piece of the “gold rush.”
“Our gold-color iPhones were completely sold out within four minutes when we opened online reservations on September 18,” a spokesman for market leader Singapore Telecom told AFP.
Long lines snaked through SingTel’s launch event at the cavernous Marina Bay Sands convention center as thousands of Apple fans who had made online reservations trooped there to pick up their new gadgets.
John Yap, the first in line, said he decided to buy the golden iPhone because it was “refreshing and a welcome change from the look of all the previous models.”
The 24-year-old accountant queued for nearly 12 hours before he got his hand on a 64-gigabyte version, but said the wait was well worth it.
“I think it’s worth the time especially when it is something you cherish. It is just like queing for concert tickets,” he said.
A spokeswoman for StarHub, another Singaporean carrier, said the gold iPhone 5S was sold out within an hour in its 10 outlets across the city-state.
Singapore’s third carrier, M1, also ran out of the golden phones, according to a chart on its website.
There were similar scenes elsewhere in Asia.
In China, state-run news website sh.eastday.com reported earlier that the gold iPhone 5S models were quickly bought up after online pre-orders began Tuesday morning.
Those looking to get their hands on Apple’s much-coveted latest offering said they did not mind the cost of the 5S — at least 5,288 yuan ($864).
In Beijing, Apple customer Yao Guibing said: “I’ve been using iPhone since its first generation.
“The color is very special.. I believe in Apple’s idea of design, so golden color must be excellent.
“Though some people on the Internet say the golden color is for nouveau riche, I don’t think so.”
Favoured by emperors and representing wealth and luxury in Chinese culture, gold has become a badge of the country’s newly wealthy.
In status-conscious Hong Kong, the golden version was almost nowhere to be found.
“We were able to acquire the 16 gigabyte models, we’ve gotten around 30 to 40 of the gold ones,” Lau Chi-kong, of G-world Mobile in the commercial district of Mong Kok, told AFP, which he described to be a small number.
“I think Apple released a limited amount of the gold version,” Lau said.
Lau will sell the 16 gigabyte version of the gold colored phone for HK$10,800, almost double its retail price, he said.
“There is demand for it, everyone wants it,” he added.
Some customers who were left empty-handed vented their frustration online.
“What’s the point of having priority to purchase when (companies don’t) even provide sufficient phones for us?” asked Lipingg Jaimelody on M1’s Facebook page.
“Launches at 8am, and (at) 8.40am gold was all sold out,” she ranted.
“Should sack Tim Cook who ain’t cook enough gold for the consumer,” customer Teo PC also wrote on M1’s Facebook page, referring to the Apple chief executive.


Brent crude oil rises for a sixth day as supplies tighten amid strong demand

Updated 23 min 15 sec ago
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Brent crude oil rises for a sixth day as supplies tighten amid strong demand

  • US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $68.98 a barrel, up 34 cents
  • The potential of renewed US sanctions against Iran is pushing prices higher

SINGAPORE: Brent crude oil rose for sixth day on Tuesday, passing $75 a barrel, on expectations that supplies will tighten because fuel is rising at the same time the US may impose sanctions against Iran and OPEC-led output cuts remain in place.
Brent crude oil futures climbed to as high as $75.20 a barrel in early trading on Tuesday, the highest since Nov. 27, 2014. Brent was still at $75 a barrel at 0311 GMT up 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, from its last close.
Brent’s six-day rising streak is the most since a similar string of gains in December and it is up by more than 20 percent from its 2018 low in February.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $68.98 a barrel, up 34 cents, or 0.5 percent from their last settlement. On Thursday, WTI rose to as high as $69.56, the most since Nov. 28, 2014.
Markets have been lifted by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which were introduced in 2017 with the aim of propping up the market.
The potential of renewed US sanctions against Iran is also pushing prices higher.
Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA said new sanctions against Tehran “could push oil prices up as much as $5 per barrel.”
The US has until May 12 to decide whether it will leave the Iran nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions against OPEC’s third-largest producer, which would further tighten global supplies.
“Crude prices are now sitting at the highest levels in three years, reflecting ongoing concerns around geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, which is the source of nearly half of the world’s oil supply,” ANZ bank said.
“Oil strength is coming from Saudi Arabia’s recent commitment to get oil back up to between $70 to $80 per barrel as well as inventory levels that are back in the normal range,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.
OPEC’s supply curtailments and the threat of new sanctions are occurring just as demand in Asia, the world’s biggest oil consuming region, has risen to a record as new and expanded refineries start up from China to Vietnam.
One of the few factors that has limited oil prices from surging even more is US production, which has shot up by more than a quarter since mid-2016 to over 10.54 million barrels per day (bpd), taking it past Saudi Arabia’s output of around 10 million bpd.
As a result of its rising output, US crude is increasingly appearing on global markets, from Europe to Asia, undermining OPEC’s efforts to tighten the market.