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Friday, July 23, 2010, 08:40 am PT (11:40 am ET)

Excited customers in 9 new countries brave long lines for Apple's iPad

Apple's touchscreen iPad officially went on sale in nine more countries Friday, resulting in long lines and waiting lists for customers in overseas markets, including Hong Kong.

The iPad launch in Hong Kong was described as "crazy" by one local vendor who has been selling the device since it launched in the U.S. in April, according to The Wall Street Journal. Kurt Lo's orders from China and Vietnam increased to between 300 and 400 this week, up from an average of 200 to 300 in previous weeks.

Hong Kong was just one of nine new territories where the iPad launched on Friday. Other new locations were Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore.

Customers were able to purchase both the Wi-Fi-only and 3G-capable models of the iPad at all of Apple's retail stores, as well as the company's authorized resellers. Apple plans to roll out the iPad in many more countries later this year, and pricing and availability have been promised at a later date.

"At an Apple reseller in Hong Kong’s Wanchai neighborhood, instead of a line, shoppers were greeted with a multi-page waiting list," the report said. "The store didn’t expect to have any more iPads available for at least two weeks."



In Hong Kong, vendors like Lo previously imported iPads through "friends" who purchased the device in the U.S. and the U.K., where it has been available for months. But now, those resellers can officially sell the device at their local stores, and also resell them to customers in other countries, like mainland China and Vietnam.

Lo told the Journal that he expected to ship between 10 and 50 iPads to vendors in gray markets in China on the launch day. Vendors like him are expected to become a major supplier of gray market iPads for mainland China, where no launch date has been provided. Recent reports have alleged that Apple is in talks with PC maker Founder to distribute and provide localized content for the device.