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Lines form as iPhone 7 sales begin in Taiwan

Apple Inc.’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus went on sale Friday in 28 countries including Taiwan, marking the first time in history that Taiwan joined the list of markets given early access to the phone.

Studio A, an Apple Premium Reseller with 33 outlets nationwide, reported that the first batch of handsets at its flagship Xinyi store sold out within an hour, as thousands of consumers lined up in front of the store hours before it opened at 8 a.m.

One customer, surnamed Huang, told local media he stood in line for 32 hours in front of the Xinyi store.

The first 100 customers in the line were offered free sandwiches and coffee provided by a cafe owned by Studio A.

After Apple’s two new smartphone models were unveiled on Sept. 7, Taiwanese distributors reported strong pre-order sales.

Studio A staff told local media it had received five times the number of orders it had obtained for the iPhone 6s a year ago when that model was released.

Staff said that iPhone sales had received a boost after some airlines banned in-flight use of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7.

“The amount of pre-orders surprised us … Some were Samsung users that jumped ship to Apple,” a seller said. “Sales in September are expected to more than double.”

After the launch of the new Samsung smartphone on Aug. 15, reports cropped up of explosions occurring while the phone was charging.

Users began posting photos and videos on social media late last month, showing the charred Galaxy Note 7 with part of its 5.7-inch touchscreen burned and melted after catching fire.

Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, announced a large-scale recall of the devicesearlier this month. Airlines around the world are banning the use of the Samsung mobile device onboard aircrafts.

International airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia have taken similar steps, urging passengers to not use or charge Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 during flights.