Samsung’s new foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip, is selling like hotcakes. Launched on Valentine’s Day in South Korea and the U.S., stock of the $1,380 phone quickly sold out on Samsung’s websites and most physical stores across both nations.
But, as is often the case with highly hyped luxury items, some buyers who made the purchase had ulterior motives in mind: the resell market.
Hong Kong has a notoriously lively resell market for smartphones, and Trinity Electronic in the Mong Kok district is arguably the best in the business. As I’ve reported before, Trinity Electronic is well known in the Hong Kong phone scene as being the first to bring phones not sold in Hong Kong to the city. Usually, these grey market imports are marked up slightly over retail price—maybe $100 or $200—but when a product is in ultra high demand, that’s when things go out of control.
The first batch of Galaxy Z Flips have reached Trinity Electronic as of this afternoon, and they’re being “flipped” for HK$17,000, around $2,188. That’s around $800 markup over the U.S. retail price of $1,380 or South Korean price of 1.65 million won ($1,395).
Lest you scoff at the price, know that demand for this folding phone is extremely high for several reasons. The first is that Samsung has supposedly improved the screen texture over last year’s folding Galaxy Fold, whose plastic OLED screen was deemed fragile by many (though to be fair, my unit of the Fold is still fine after four months of heavy use). The Z Flip instead uses cutting-edge UTG (ultra-thin glass) technology that allows a glass panel to bend. Though there has been some controversy about just how much of the display is glass after a teardown video by popular YouTuber JerryRigEverything showed the screen still behaved like plastic when damaged on purpose.
The other reason for the high demand is that the Z Flip simply seems to be a really good phone with a clear nostalgic factor. Reviewers have raved about the new bending glass display (or at least what feels like glass), and the fact the phone folds vertically resembles a clamshell cell phone from the late 90s.
Trinity was able to import 10 units of the Z Flip from South Korea, and they’re already almost sold out or reserved. Those in Hong Kong who want their hands on the Z Flip will either have to wait until more grey market imports, or wait for Samsung Hong Kong to officially sell the phone, which has been scheduled for March 6.