Apple Uses New Lottery System to Combat iPhone Scalpers in Hong Kong

Earlier this month, Apple released its popular iPhone 4S handset to long lines in mainland China. But launch day didn’t last very long, as riots broke out in front of multiple Apple Stores around Beijing, forcing them to close.

Scalpers were believed to be a major factor in the riots — they buy iPhones and other gadgets and sell them for a profit on the grey market. But it looks like Apple has found a way to keep them from causing any more problems…

Apple writes:

“Due to high demand, we are accepting a limited number of iPhone reservations per day. To request an iPhone reservation, please choose your store and the iPhone you want. If we have an iPhone reservation for you, you’ll receive a confirmation email by 9:00 p.m. tonight that includes the time when you can pick up your iPhone tomorrow. A government-issued photo ID matching the name and ID number on your reservation is required for iPhone purchases. If you don’t receive an email, we were unable to reserve an iPhone for you, and you can try again another time. Only those who receive an email confirming their reservation will be able to purchase an iPhone; we will not be selling iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S to walk-in customers.”

While this seems like it will take care of the scalper problem, it also sounds like a major inconvenience for regular customers who have been waiting months for Apple’s new handset.

The iPhone 4S is currently only available on one carrier in China, China Unicom, but is expected to launch on others in the near future.