Crowds, scalpers greet iPad 2 in China

May 6, 2011, 3:43 PM UTC

By the time doors opened at Beijing’s flagship store, the queue was 1,000 customers long

iPad 2 launch day in Beijing. Photo: Sina

Remember all those iPad 2s purchased in the U.S. for re-sale in China’s gray market? Their sell-by date arrived early Friday, when Apple authorized sales of the iPad 2 began at the company’s four Chinese retail outlets and the China Apple Store online.

As a crowd estimated by a security guard at roughly 1,000 lined up outside the flagship Beijing Apple Store on Sanlitun Road, scalpers with bags of gray market iPad 2s could be seen hawking them for 200 to 300 yuan ($30 to $45) above suggested retail prices, which start at 3688 yuan ($568).

“Stop queuing for the device! You exchange 300 yuan for five hours,” one scalper, with more than 10 iPad 2s in hand, shouted to people standing in line, according to Xinuanet news.

According to AppleInsider, lines for the iPad 2 in China were even longer than for the original iPad, which launched on a rainy day last September. By 10 p.m. Thursday more than 100 people were camped out in front of Apple’s (AAPL) giant glass cylinder in Shanghai, prepared to spend the night.

Below the fold: A Bloomberg video report of the scene in Shanghai.


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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]