Apple's MacBook Air draws long lines, stock-outs in Hong Kong debutApple's newly updated MacBook Air lineup debuted this week in Hong Kong, attracting crowds and selling out quickly, ahead of making an anticipated splash in mainland China.
The newly updated MacBook Air is "ready to take flight in China," analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities said in a note to investors on Friday. Over the last week, the new thin-and-light notebook went on sale at Hong Kong-based resellers, and was met with long lines and stock-outs.
Interest surrounding the debut of new MacBook Air models may also have generated increased interest in other products like the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. This past week, stores in Hong Kong were said to be sold out of the iPhone 4, while certain iPad 2 models were also unavailable.
The Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Airs are set to go on sale in mainland China in the next week, White said, where he believes they will be met with a similarly strong response.
"Based on our field checks, we believe the new MacBook Air is poised to be a big hit in the Greater china region as more consumers can increasingly afford to own a PC, he said. "Apple fever is gaining momentum in the region and there is no laptop product in the market with the characteristics of the new MacBook Air."
White noted that last quarter Apple saw its revenue in China grow six times to reach $3.8 billion. Apple executives have said they believe they are barely "scratching the surface" of the market in China.
That room for growth in China could continue to push Mac sales even higher in the coming quarters. White believes that investors should increasingly think about the opportunities for expansion of the Mac platform in the Far East.
Authorized Apple resellers in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are said to be sold out of the previous-generation MacBook Air, which White believes is in preparation for the launch of the latest model.
"Our checks indicate the new MacBook Air will launch in China as early as next week at some stores (i.e., Apple or authorized resellers) and in September at others," he said. "Apple currently has four stores in mainland China but has plans for expansion in Huangzhou and Sichuan later this year."
This week, AppleInsider was first to report on price gouging that has occurred since Apple has been unable to meet broader demand for its new 13-inch MacBook Air. Prices on Amazon have been some $250 above retail as stock at official resellers has been limited. Availability of the MacBook Air can be found in the Mac Pricing Guide, included below:
Apple's 11- and 13-inch MacBook Airs were updated in July, gaining Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors as well as the new high-speed Thunderbolt port. Apple also added a backlit keyboard to the thin-and-light notebooks, which feature instant-on capability and solid-state hard drives.