HONG KONG (Yonhap News) ― Supply issues could hinder Apple Inc. in its latest smartphone showdown with Samsung Electronics Co. as the two tech behemoths face off in Hong Kong following the release of their new mobile gadgets here last month.
Samsung Electronics started selling the Galaxy Note 2 in Hong Kong last Thursday, six days after Apple’s iPhone 5 hit the Chinese territory.
So far, Hong Kong and Britain are the only places in the world where the latest products from the two top smartphone makers are both on sale at the same time, offering a glimpse of how the head-to-head competition might stack up. Known for having a large number of tech-savvy consumers, Hong Kong is considered to be the most important test market for mainland China.
“The Galaxy Note 2 was highly anticipated in the market due to its predecessor Galaxy Note’s huge success,” an official at Samsung Electronics’ subsidiary in Hong Kong told Yonhap News, asking for anonymity.
Like the previous Galaxy Note models, it comes with a stylus pen, which enables users to write on the display as if they were writing on paper.
More than 50,000 units of the Galaxy Note 2 were estimated to have been shipped in Hong Kong during the first three days following the release here.
Retail sellers here said shipment delays of the iPhone 5 due to Apple’s supply shortage could help the Galaxy Note 2 gain momentum in Hong Kong over the weeklong Chinese holiday in early October, as tens of thousands of mainland Chinese tourists pour into the territory.
Apple said it has run short on iPhone 5 supplies globally, after selling roughly 5 million units since the phone’s release.
Currently, the iPhone 5 is out of stock in most of Hong Kong’s retail shops.
According to online mobile device retailer Expansys Hong Kong, the Galaxy Note 2 has beaten the iPhone 5 to take the top spot.
With the price of the iPhone 5 on Expansys’ Web site being 30 percent higher than the official Apple Store price due to delays in shipment of the iPhone 5, the Galaxy Note 2 is seen as being up to par to compete with Apple’s popular smartphone.
The Galaxy Note 2 gives the user a better grip, but at the same time provides a bigger screen than its predecessor. Although it has also improved its curved design, it still seems to be lacking a high quality finish and may be prone to scratches.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 5 has become significantly lighter, compared to its predecessors, while sacrificing some of its signature high-end appearance.
The latest round of the face-off also shows that Apple will likely enhance its efforts in creating an ecosystem of integrated products and services, which would encompass its iCloud network and related products.
On the other side, Samsung Electronics, which controls a horizontal chain of supplies, has displayed its capability of churning out a diverse lineup of products that meet demand from different user segments, even advancing the scheduled release date of the Galaxy Note 2.
The official launch of the Galaxy Note 2, whose predecessor saw sales top 10 million units worldwide, was earlier than the October date given by Shin Jong-kyun, head of Samsung’s IT and mobile unit, when the device was first unveiled at the IFA 2012 trade fair in Berlin in August.