If you want an iPhone 4S in Hong Kong, you’ll need an Internet connection, a government-issued photo ID, and a bit of luck. Apple has amended its online lottery system after scalpers and bots created mayhem and an utter lack of fairness to normal consumers. The new system makes Hong Kong the most stringent country to officially offer the newest iPhone.
So here’s how it works. Hong Kong residents can go to a special website on Apple.com and fill out an online form. This form requires complete contact information as well as a government ID number. Each day, Apple randomly selects from its pool of users to award vouchers to eligible customers. Previously, the online form was much simpler, allowing bots to ping the server all day and taking all the reservation spots in a matter of seconds.
Prior to this, Apple Store locations were forced to shut down due to massive crowds, some of whom were poor workers being paid by scalpers to stand in line. The company is now no longer allowing walk-in customers to purchase iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S units from the store. They must enter the online lottery. In other words, it’s a pretty chaotic scene over in HK.