US tech giant Apple announced yesterday that the new iPhone X will officially hit Cambodian shelves on November 24, giving grey market importers in the Kingdom nearly a month of a head start to sell the latest model that was released in 50 major countries last week.
According to Apple’s announcement, Cambodia is among 13 other countries including Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea where the iPhone X will be officially made available for consumers later this month.
While Apple did not provide details on the price of the phone in Cambodia, the starting price globally for consumers purchasing directly from Apple weighs in at a hefty $999. The company noted that prices may vary through authorised resellers and carriers.
Local telecom giant Smart Axiata and iOne, Cambodia’s leading retailer for Apple products, are the only two authorised sellers of the iPhone in Cambodia.
When Apple first launched sales for iPhone X on November 3, it was released in 50 countries that included the US, China, the UK, Singapore, Australia, India and Japan. Demand was feverish as thousands of consumers lined up to get their hands on the latest model.
While Apple has yet to release sales figures, analysts have warned that stock on hand globally would be scarce with only 2 million to 3 million units initially made available throughout November, a paltry amount compared to the iPhone 6 that debuted with more than 10 million units.
Nevertheless, local grey market importers said they have already been selling the phone since November 3, albeit at a huge markup.
Chhim Sang Heng, owner of Hak Se phone shop in Phnom Penh, claimed that he has been selling the new model since Friday. While his shop is not an authorised dealer, he said that he has a business arrangement with a partner in Singapore who purchases units and ships them the same day.
He added that he initially was selling the iPhone X for $2,000 a unit during the first few days, but has been gradually lowering the price to $1,320 for the 64GB model and $1,550 for the 256GB model as of yesterday.
While he declined to provide an exact number of units his phone shop has sold, he claimed that “hundreds” have already flooded the Cambodian market with many stores already being sold out. He added that for high-end and elite customers, price was not an issue.
“For many iPhone lovers, they are not worried about the price of the phone because they just want to be the first to have the latest model,” he said. “Every time Apple releases a new iPhone, orders from customers and visitors to my store surge.”
He declined to predict how the official launch of the iPhone X would hamper sales as he would wait to see how registered distributors set their prices.
Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata, a licensed retailer, said that the company was prepared to start offering the new model on November 24 and would very soon announce a date for official preorders.
“Through our network of Smart Shops and partnership with Apple, we are thrilled that Cambodians will soon be able to enjoy this highly awaited mobile device, in combination with the most comprehensive plans we will offer to enjoy our ever expanding network,” he said, adding that the iPhone 8, a less expensive cousin, would be available to consumers this Friday.