Will I ever be able to get an iPhone 5s?

After 4 weeks working in South Korea I had hoped to return to China and buy an iPhone 5s. But so far I am failing miserably.

In mainland China you cannot simply go into an Apple Store and pick up an iPhone 5s. As a result of the mini riots after the iPhone 4s launch a couple of years ago there is a reservation system that goes live each day at 6am, this allows you to reserve one of the phones that they have in stock at your local Apple Store. Living in Shanghai, I now have a choice of 4 official Apple Stores because 3 days ago a new store opened in the IAPM mall. The process is this:

  • At 6am got to http://apple.com/cn/retail/iphone and click one the iPhone 5s reservation link.
  • You then must send and SMS containing the word ‘iPhone’ to a number and a special code will be sent back to you. You must enter this code, your phone number and fumble over a captcha before you can view the available stock at the different stores and I assume make a reservation (I have not got any further than this point).
  • The stock appears to be extremely limited. Prior to today I never managed to see any available stock, but today a couple of the stores had the 16GB Space Grey and one of the stores had a 64GB Gold but none had a 32GB of any colour (which is the model I would like). As of a few minutes ago all stores except the new one at the IAPM mall has sold out. 

    Who is buying all these phones?  In China the cost of these devices is higher that the average monthly salary so to be this does not make too much sense (I would not spend a month’s salary on a phone). However I guess Shanghai does contain a large percentage of the wealthier Chinese population. 

    So, what are my options? 

  • I could order online, but I don’t have a credit card here in China. Despite earning a western salary every application I have made for a credit card has been declined (even though I have been here almost 2 years now).

  • Pay a premium from one of the retailers who has a grey import from Hong Kong.
  • Try and buy one during my next trip to South Korea.
  • Take @nevin up on his offer to send me one from Hong Kong.
  • Just buy the next 32GB or 64GB model that is available regardless of colour.
  • Give up.
  • As I am scheduled to be in Shanghai for the next week, and I also get up at 6am everyday, I will probably continue to keep trying the silly reservation system. I will keep you informed of my progress!

    Where has all the deodorant gone?

    I have been travelling to Asia for over 13 years now and back in 2000 when I first visited China buying antiperspirant deodorant outside of Shanghai seemed almost impossible. Thankfully this is no longer the case, it can be purchased almost anywhere now even though the cost is approximately twice that of the equivalent product in UK.

    Fast forward 13 years to Siheung, South Korea where I am frequently based due to the HQ of my employer being just down the road in Ansan…..Normally I pack 2 lots of antiperspirant deodorant when I travel just in case I leave one it a hotel or something, however on this trip I totally forgot to pack any! So I decided to head to the local shops to buy some….it was almost like being back in China 13 years ago! I couldn't find any in any of the convenience stores, so off I head to E-Mart which is a large supermarket/store…

    I was expecting to be presented with a wall of deodorant including international brands that I was familiar with along with a select of Korean brands that I will never have heard of, but alas this was not the case. What I did find was small selection of Axe (Lynx in the UK) spray deodorant in a special 'New' section of the mens grooming products. I was happy at first because it meant I would not be stinking before the end of each day, but my happiness was short lived when I saw the price of 10900 WON (Approximately 11 USD)!

    So this has got me wondering, do South Korean guys simply do not need deodorant? Or I am in a less developed suburb of Seoul where such luxuries are sold at a premium price?

    On my next trip I will bring a few extra cans and leave them in my dormitory, or better still import a crate load from the UK, mark them up 100% and sell them!

    Bringing this blog back to life!

    As the second anniversary of moving from the UK to China is rapidly approaching I realise I have done a poor job in writing about my experiences living and working in both China and South Korea.

    Sure I have posted pictures via Instagram, tweeted on my twitter stream, posted on my App.net stream but none of them are verbose thoughts that I should be placing here.

    The main reason for this is my crazy life and laziness. It has also been a challenge to find reliable tools to do the the blogging in the way that I wanted to do it. For example, previously this blog was a self hosted WordPress blog. This suited me fine until I started to write posts using the iOS app. More often than not the app would crash with data loss, and then if I did manage to publish it rarely looked like how I expected it to.

    Then I discovered an interesting solution called 10Centuries.com. This is a new blogging platform creates by @matigo. This solution is simple, clean, fast and comes without any of the security based issues you have with self hosting a WordPress blog. It's easy integration with Evernote means creating posts on any platform is a breeze.

    Please drop by from time to time to see how well I am getting on!