Wong was required to give his local identity card number when he signed up for his iPhone on Apple’s website. The requirement prevents purchases by tourists including mainland Chinese, who have a reputation for scooping up high-end goods on trips to Hong Kong because there’s no sales tax and because of the strength of China’s currency. Even so, the mainlanders will probably buy it from the resellers ‘‘at a higher price — a way higher price,’’ said Wong, who hoped to make a profit of HK$1,000 ($129).
A similar money-making strategy was being pursued in London, where many in the crowds — largely from the city’s extensive Asian community — planned to either send the phones to family and friends back home as gifts or sell them in countries where they are much more expensive.
‘‘It makes a really nice gift to family back home,’’ said Muhammad Alum, 30, a minicab driver from Bangladesh. ‘‘It will be two or three weeks before there is a SIM card there that can work it, but it’s coming soon.’’
Others who had waited overnight said the iPhones cost roughly twice as much in India as in Britain, making them very welcome as gifts.
Tokyo’s glitzy downtown Ginza district not only had a long line in front of the Apple store, but another across the main intersection at Softbank, the first carrier in Japan to offer iPhones.
Hidetoshi Nakamura, a 25-year-old auto engineer, said he’s an Apple fan because it’s an innovator.
‘‘I love Apple,’’ he said, standing near the end of a two-block-long line, reading a book and listening to music on his iPod.
‘‘It’s only the iPhone for me.’’
Chan reported from Hong Kong.
Ted Shaffrey and Peter Svensson in New York, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo, Faris Mokhtar in Singapore, Tom Rayner and Gregory Katz in London and Oleg Cetinic in Paris contributed to this report.