The iPad Mini has gone onsale in China and, aside from the gangs snapping them up for resale or export, there was little in the way of consumer interest for Apple's baby tablet.
All Quiet on the Asian Front
Since recent Apple product launches have seen near riots in China, there was more security and new procedures on hand for the launch of Apple's new tablet, which is more affordable, and therefore should be more attractive in growing markets.
But, there seemed to be little interest in the Wi-Fi version of the iPad mini from locals, with more attention from (and on) the scalpers and resellers trying to buy them off purchasers, or sending in their own decoys to get around Apple's improved security. This WSJ China Realtime Report, suggests the only trouble at the launch was with those same scalpers taking a disliking to being filmed by journalists.
So, are potential buyers in China sticking with less expensive white-label or branded Android models, or are they more interested in the greater specifications of the iPad 4? Perhaps the better connectivity of the mobile-enabled iPad mini which should launch in a few months will appeal? Or they could all be waiting for the iPhone 5 launch next week, when those scalpers will be back in force.
Looking for Growth
Given that iPad mini pre-orders sold out in about two minutes on Hong Kong's Apple Web Store, the company won't be too fussed about one modest showing at one store, with online making up a great deal of its business and helping Apple minimise the impact of the resellers snapping them up.
However, in countries where perception is everything, Apple won't like the images of near-empty stores (think about how much mileage that single article on slow Surface sales in one Microsoft store got). Also, how long will it be before someone draws a link between Apple bring more Mac production back to America and some imagined sneaky protest orchestrated by the Chinese tech industry?
A possible counter to this slow-business-syndrome could be something as easy as a sales-ticker on Apple.com linked to Apple's EPOS system. Remember to tune in this time next week for the iPhone 5 launch in China where things should be a little more lively.