Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Ringgit Malaysia Notes from 2012

PETALING JAYA: The ringgit will have a new look next year, announced Bank Negara.
The new series design of Malaysian banknotes and coins would be issued for circulation in early 2012, an exercise undertaken periodically every 12 years, said the central bank in a statement yesterday.
“The theme for the design of the new currency series will include features that are distinctively Malay­sian.
“It will also have enhanced security elements in line with the latest advancements in technology for currency notes,” it said.
There will be changes for the RM1, RM5, RM10, and RM100 banknotes and 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen and 50 sen coins.
However, the current design of the RM50 banknote, which came out in December 2007 to commemorate Malaysia’s 50th Independence Day, will continue to remain in circulation.
“In preparation for the issuance of the new currency series, Bank Negara will be working closely with financial institutions, businesses and cash handling vendors to ensure a smooth transition,” it said.
Existing banknotes will be circulated with the new notes until the former are gradually withdrawn.
“Vendors of cash handling machines will be given six months to calibrate these to ensure public convenience for the use of the new currency,” the statement said.
To increase public awareness on the new currency series, Bank Negara said it would issue commemorative coins for the third series and unveil the new fourth series for banknotes in the third quarter of this year.
[Source : The Star Online]

Cosway Malaysia plans 3-in-1 concept store

TOKYO : Cosway Corporation Ltd plans to introduce a 3-in-1 concept at Cosway shops throughout Malaysia beginning next month with an investment of RM10 million.

Chairman and chief executive officer Al Chuah said the 3-in-1 (organic,pharmacy and Cosway products) concept would boost next year's revenue to RM2 billion compared with RM1.7 billion expected this year.

"The 3-in-1 concept is the first in the world and it is not entirely a multi-level-marketing system but will offer a retail shop concept.

"We will introduce the concept not only in Malaysia but in other countries where we operate currently.

"We decided to introduce the pharmacy-concept as it will attract a lot of customers to our shops compared with those who only walk into our shops because they know the brand," he told reporters after the launch of the 3-in-1 Cosway
shop here by Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri. 

The minister said the first concept store would not only sell pharmaceutical and organic products but also other Cosway products. Of the 2,000 products sold
in the shop, more than 400 products, are made in Malaysia.

"This is one way to export our products to Japan. With Cosway, owned by Malaysians, we can actually bring in more Malaysian products into Japan," said Ismail Sabri.

Meanwhile, Al Chuah said Cosway planned to expand their network in Japan to about 100 outlets next year with an investment of between RM30 million and RM50 million.

"We also plan to penetrate Mexico, Columbia, Russia, China and Turkey next year and would invest RM20 million in each of these markets.

Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan said he was confident the concept would be a success and compete internationally.

He said Cosway planned to export more Malaysian-made quality products which met the criteria of Japanese consumers. -- Bernama

For more information, kindly visit,

Malaysia Residential property market in 2011 to remain encouraging- OSK Research

KUALA LUMPUR: The residential property market is expected to remain rather encouraging next year as consumers start to focus on affordable homes.
OSK Research Sdn Bhd said the fact that most of recent launches were of units in the high-end segment could signal that the upcycle is at its tail-end and developers were rushing to capture any remaining upside before the sentiment for such properties turns sour.
"Subsequently, we expect developers to shift to the more affordable mass-market housing segment to tap into the high demand by first-time young buyers," it said in a research note today.
The shift became more apparent recently when high-end developers such as SP Setia and Mah Sing acquired sizeable pieces of land in the Klang Valley for developing townships that offered affordable housing.
"For those which remain focused on the high-end market, we see them offering smaller housing units with the aim of making the price per unit appear more affordable," it said.
OSK maintained a "neutral" call on the property sector, on the fact that property counters tend to underperform or market perform when sentiments weaken. - Bernama

Thursday, December 22, 2011

E-Cosway Pharmacy Advantage/Disadvantage for Pharmacist

Farmasi Cosway

Tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun plans to launch a new retail concept which could instantly make him the pharmacy industry’s leader.
The move means that Tan is making yet another bet on the healthcare sector. He is already the second largest shareholder of hospital operator TMC Life Sciences Bhd and stem cell firm Stemlife Bhd.
The gaming and property businessman wants to set up a venture called eCosway Pharmacy, which will incorporate pharmacies within Cosway stores, Berjaya Group’s direct-selling business.

According to sources, this 2-in-1 concept is expected to take off by year-end. It is understood that an existing Cosway store can add a pharmacy within its premises or an existing pharmacy may have a Cosway store. Alternatively, a new branch that incorporates both can also be set up.

Malaysia now has over 2,000 retail pharmacies which include Guardian, Vitacare and CARiNG.

Cosway, a direct-selling company, sells its products via its vast nationwide network. Its products range from health and nutrition to skincare and kitchenware .
Cosway (M) Sdn Bhd, when contacted by Business Times to comment and provide details of this new business model, said: "Cosway regrets that we are unable to comment at this point of time".

However, work on the new venture has started.

There are advertisements placed on job sites including one on the Malaysian Franchise Association which states that eCosway Pharmacy is looking for qualified pharmacists to partner its business owners.

If this works like how a Cosway store functions, it would mean that Cosway will provide rent-free stores, free renovation, free stock-up, free equipment and pay for electricity.

The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) president Datuk Nancy Ho said that it was aware of the business model.

"MPS is conscious about the emergence of this set-up and is finding out more about the scheme to ensure that benchmarking and quality standards of practice are upheld," Ho said.

For Tan, this is not the first pharmacy venture. In January this year, the tycoon, in his personal capacity, bought a minority stake in home-grown CaRiNG Pharmacy. It was reported that this will enable CARiNG Pharmacy to expand faster. A check on CARiNG's website shows that it has about 60 local pharmacies.

It will be interesting to note that should the move take off, it would also benefit the group when dispensing separation takes place.

Updated Information  

Comparison Chart for Running Cosway Pharmacy VS Working in Independent Pharmacy/ Opening Own Pharmacy & Starting a Franchise

Working In Independent Pharmacy
Running a Free Cosway Pharmacy
Working for others
Become own boss
Getting salary
Getting salary as well (Rm5k-Rm8K)
No passive income
Passive Income ( Networking)
No profit sharing
Profit sharing up to 50%
Fix working hour
Able to arrange our time
No EPF (But Salary added 12-13%)
Got annual leave
No annual leave (Treat as your own business)
Learn store management skills
Learn Store management skills
Depend on salary hike or bonus which is one –off.
Passive income is unlimited through power of network.
If stop working, no money for us
If able to achieve enough passive income, able to achieve financial freedom
Able to choose outlet location
Able to choose outlet location

Opening own Pharmacy
Running a Free Cosway Pharmacy
High initial investment
No investment required
High cost like marketing/ advertisement
Marketing / advertisement done by company
Building lease or purchase cost
Cosway pays the lease
Branding may not strong
Good branding ( Established since 1979)
May work individually
Work in team ( Back up by Berjaya Corporation under Tan Sri Vincent tan)
Potential customer will be lesser
More potential customer through cosway network nationwide
Very low risk
Price of product is less competitive
Price of product is more competitive
May work individually
Work in team ( Back up by Berjaya Corporation under Tan Sri Vincent tan)
No guarantee income
Guarantee income (Rm5k-Rm8K)
Single source of income
Multiple streams of income
Depend on active income
Achieve financial freedom through passive income

Buying a Franchise
Running a Free Cosway Pharmacy
High initial investment
No investment required
Ongoing franchise fees
No fees charged
Building lease or purchase cost
Cosway pays the lease
Limited products or services
Unlimited product range
Buying yourself a job
Create time & financial freedom
Single source of profit
Multiple streams of profit

Above comparison charts are taken from

Any enquiry, kindly contact/sms us at number below,

Monday, December 19, 2011

ASN 2011 declares income of 7.65c, bonus 1.15c per unit for Skim ASB

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 19):'' Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd, a unit of Permodalan Nasional Bhd, announced an income of 7.65 sen a unit and a bonus of 1.15 sen a unit for Skim Amanah Saham Bumiputera for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2011.

It said on Monday this income distribution was an increase of 0.15 sen a unit compared with dividend paid of 7.50 sen a unit last year.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

DRB-HICOM and Volkswagen to control Proton ???

PETALING JAYA: DRB-HICOM Bhd's bid for control over Proton Holdings Bhd is likely to include the presence of Volkswagen AG at a later stage, a reliable source said.
DRB-HICOM's plan is to first secure a controlling block in Proton.
But at a later stage or second phase of the deal, DRB would divest some of its equity to Volkswagen, resulting in both parties sharing control and management in Proton, the source said.
Such a structure could make the deal more desirable, considering that it moved away from the prospects of Proton falling into the hands of a foreign party, an issue which was likely to have been part of the reasons why previous attempts by Volkswagen to buy into Proton were scuttled.
Volkswagen declined to comment while DRB-HICOM could not be reached for comment.
The market is rife with speculation that Khazanah Nasional Bhd has received a number of bids for a controlling stake in Proton. Khazanah owns 42.7% in Proton.
Another source close to the matter said Khazanah had yet to make a decision on the Proton deal and that meetings would be held this week between key stakeholders to discuss the matter.
The source also said there was a possibility that the sale of the stake in Proton might be called off temporarily.
“Whatever the case, there is likely to be more clarity within the next few weeks on whether a deal is going to take place,” said the source.
Khazanah was in negotiations with Volkswagen AG, but the talks broke down in late 2007.
DRB-HICOM had previously approached Proton in 2009 and formally submitted a bid to buy 32% of Proton shares.
After the talks with Proton broke down, Volkswagen partnered instead with DRB-HICOM in late 2010 to assemble and manufacture Volkswagen vehicles in Malaysia.
Proton shares have been actively traded in recent days on speculation that Khazanah was poised to divest its stake inthe national carmaker.
Some insiders reckoned that bidders might only be interested to own less than 33% stake in Proton, which meant that minority shareholders would not get bought out in the deal.
Volkswagen's involvement in Proton may also make DRB-HICOM's deal more attractive, considering that analysts have stated that what Proton needed was a partnership with an established auto manufacturer with technological capabilities.

Bursa Malaysia: Small caps may underperform market in 2012

PETALING JAYA: The small-cap sector, which continued to fumble in the recent third-quarter results season, could underperform the market next year if the flight to safety accelerates.
According to CIMB Research, if the global economy continued to deteriorate over the next few months, it was likely that the small-cap sector would underperform relative to the big caps because of the flight to quality.
“Furthermore, the long-term technical indicators for the FBM Small Cap Index (SCI) suggests that the index will consolidate in 2012,” it said in a report yesterday.
CIMB Research said that while there was no denying that small-cap valuations were cheap, investors currently had a small appetite for risk.
“The sector’s average calendar year 2012 price earning ratio (PE) of 9 times looks attractive, being at a 30% discount to the FTSE Bursa Malaysia (FBM) KLCI’s PE ratio. The small-cap sector usually trades at discounts of between 25% and 35% to the FBM KLCI.
“But we think that the discount could widen if the flight to quality accelerates over the next few months,” it said.
The SCI is lagging behind the FBM KLCI, having fallen 8.5% at the end of November compared to a 2% decline for the FBM KLCI. The SCI peaked in early 2011 and has been sliding gradually since then.
But, from the end of September, the SCI’s recovery has been a little stronger than the FBM KLCI’s, at 11% compared to 7% for the FBM KLCI.
“We also note a lot of retail interest in selected penny stocks over the past two months,” it said.
A research house head told StarBiz that if the market was flat for some time (two to three weeks), then there could be selected interest in small-cap counters, but if the market was generally on an uptrend, then the whole small-cap sector could be attractive.
“Usually after a month of the big-cap rally, interest would shift to small caps.
“But, I do not foresee this to happen in the first six months of next year,” he said, adding that the limelight for first few months of 2012 would be on the big caps.
CIMB Research said one of the main reasons for the small-cap sector’s underperformance this year was result misses.
“The best quarter for small-cap stocks was in the third quarter 2010 (calendar year). Since then, corporate results have been deteriorating,” said CIMB Research.
In the recent third-quarter 2011 results season, CIMB Research said none of its small-cap stocks beat its expectations and 53% fell short of expectations, worse than the 35% ratio of underachievers in 2Q11.
“We still see no signs of a turnaround. In fact, earnings could worsen in 2012,” it said.
“Generally, the managements of small-cap companies are finding it challenging managing their companies, given the extreme volatility in raw material prices and also the forex market. The economic slowdown in the United States and Europe also has both a direct and indirect economic impact on these companies,” it said.

Malaysia Civil servants to get up to 13% pay rise from Jan 2011

PUTRAJAYA: A new civil service remuneration scheme has been unveiled giving government employees a pay rise of 7% to 13% effective Jan 1.
Public Service director-general Tan Sri Abu Bakar Abdullah said the increments for the civil servants would be based on four principles: hierarchy: talent and experience; their position and subject matter expertise; and their performance.
He said the increments would be performance-based, which also means that if the top civil servants do not do enough to merit bonuses, there would be no pay rise for them either.
The performance of the top-level civil servants will be evaluated through their Key Performance Indicators.
Citing an example of how a top management officer would be paid, he said a doctor with a salary range of between RM4,431 and RM6,439 is now eligible for a salary of between RM4,520 and RM8,840. However, the doctor will not immediately move to the new maximum rate if he is currently earning RM6,439.
He will instead earn a similar salary and continue to enjoy increments of up to RM8,840 (37% higher than the previous ceiling) even before he is promoted to the next grade.
Giving an example for the lower category staff, he said: “If a driver earns between RM1,222.51 and RM1,882 under the current scheme, he can earn between RM1,245 and RM2,965 under the new scheme.”

Friday, October 14, 2011

Shopping around – places to go if you want to invest in property

IF you were looking to invest in property somewhere outside Malaysia, where would you go? First, let us set some parameters. We are not looking for something in the mega rich category but it must be located in a decent neighbourhood and within the city limits. Taking into consideration all these conditions, how much would it cost you? How much can you rent it out for, and what would be the rate of return?
For the benefit of our discussion, let us look at cities closer to home our Asean neighbours. Singapore would spring to mind as the most expensive city in South-East Asia, followed perhaps by Bangkok and Jakarta, even Kuala Lumpur.
But are our assumptions accurate?
They are, but only to a point. A quick look at the Global Property Guide, which is available on the Internet, has yielded some interesting numbers. For the sake of consistency, the prices and rentals quoted are for an apartment of 120 square metres located within the city limits. However, they are not likely to be premium properties.
According to the guide, the most expensive place in South-East Asia to invest in is Singapore. The city state also makes the No. 5 spot on the world's most expensive property list, ahead of Tokyo that only makes the No. 7 spot.
Going by the numbers contained in the Global Property Guide, the average market price of property in the city state is US$16,727 (RM52,555) per sq m. For an apartment of 120 sq m, you will have to fork out just over US$2mil (RM6.28mil).
From here on, our original assumption proves inaccurate. Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, it turns out, is more expensive than Jakarta or Manila. It makes the No. 2 spot in the South-East Asia list of the most expensive cities.
In Phnom Penh, real estate can cost as much as US$3,750 (RM11,782) per sq m. That means our apartment could cost about US$450,000 (RM1.4mil). Phnom Penh makes the global list of most expensive cities at No. 44, just ahead of Auckland, New Zealand.
The third most expensive city in South-East Asia, among the six covered by the Global Property Guide, is Bangkok, a city of 11 million people currently threatened by widespread floods in the north, northeast and central plains of Thailand.
Property in this city goes for an average of US$3,300 (RM10,362) per sq m, so a 120 sq m apartment will set us back US$396,000 (RM1.24mil). Bangkok is at No. 48 on the global list, just behind Cape Town in South Africa.
Metro Manila makes the South-East Asia list at No. 4. The average price of real estate in the Philippine capital is US$2,407 (RM7,558) per sq m. So our apartment there will cost us US$288,840 (RM906,973). Manila is at No. 64 on the global list.
Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, and the most populous city in the archipelago, is the fifth most expensive city in South-East Asia. Property in this city goes for an average of US$1,781 (RM5,592) per sq m. That means a 120 sq m apartment will cost US$213,720 (RM671,092). Jakarta is No. 77 on the world expensive cities list.
Bringing up the rear in the South-East Asia list is Kuala Lumpur. The Global Property Guide estimates that the average price of property in this city is US$1,546 (RM4,854) per sq m. Our apartment will therefore cost US$185,520 (RM582,543). This puts Kuala Lumpur at No. 81 on the global list.
After making these investments, how much yield can one expect?
According to the guide again, Jakarta is the city that is most friendly to property investors one can charge up to US$1,819 (RM5,711) a month to rent out the apartment, thus offering a gross rental yield of 10.21%. This also makes it the third most profitable city in the world in terms of rental returns.
Metro Manila is No. 2 on the South-East Asia list in terms of yield. Here, our apartment can be rented out for US$1,836 (RM5,765), thus offering a yield of 7.63%. The rental rate is higher than in Jakarta, but the investment is also much higher, hence the returns are not as good as in the Indonesian capital. Manila is No. 11 on the global list.
In Kuala Lumpur, our apartment can fetch a rental of US$1,072 (RM3,366) a month, thus giving us a return of 6.93%, putting the city at No. 3 in the South-East Asia list and No. 22 on the global list.
Bangkok comes in next with a yield of 6.49% followed by Phnom Penh with a 3.26% yield and finally Singapore with a return of 2.94%. On the global list, Bangkok is at No. 25, Phnom Penh at No. 73 and Singapore at No. 77.
Of course, it is most advisable to be cautious when investing. These examples are not meant to be an advisory on where is best to invest in property. This is merely meant to show that data such as this can throw up some surprises which, all the more, emphasise the need for more research and professional advice when one is considering such investments.
So, before you catch the next flight to Jakarta or Manila, talk to your investment advisor first.
l Teh Lip Kim is the MD of SDB Properties Sdn Bhd, a lifestyle property company. Bouquets and brickbats are welcomed. Send by email to

Pointers for those considering a property investment

HERE are some pointers for those considering a property investment in the near term:
Elvin Fernandez
Valuer and managing director of Khong & Jaafar Elvin Fernandez
“The global environment is changing. Strictly speaking, an upgrader sells the old house to buy the new. If he is going to hang on to the old, he will have to consider the rental market where yields are falling. He has to consider whether the market has peaked in the areas he wants to buy and whether it can go further and that may be unlikely in many areas. Value has gone above the normal governing fundamentals of price versus household income, and price versus rental returns.
“Although Malaysia is rapidly developing and we have a young population and we have seen more years of prices running up than going down, this may not be replicated as sentiments may be poor as a result of what is happening in Europe.
“As for commercial properties, the retail market looks stronger than the office market as there is an oversupply in this sub-segment.
“As for first time buyers, we have a whole range of housing from the low cost to the high-end. But many of the properties that young people may be able to afford are poorly maintained and because of this, these properties are not desirable. The authories should have more stringent legislation for people who default on their service charges. It makes good sense to seek professional property management instead of doing it on a piecemeal basis. Taking care of the maintenance issue is more logical step than building more, only to have the maintenance issue cropping up again later on.”
Charles Wong
Tetap Tiara Sdn Bhd executive director (Jaya One) Charles Wong
“Prices will have to stabilise. When considering buying the larger residential units for investment, the question to ask is, Can you rent it out? Smaller units will be more feasible. But having said that, we are seeing a huge number of 400 sq ft units of service apartments being built. While these may be affordable, buyers must consider rentability. Access, connectivity and proximity to amenities are important. And if there are so many of these units, you may need to take a longer period to rent and to re-sell in the secondary market in today's uncertain climate.
“In the retail market, rental rates have been coming down and are softer than two to three years ago. For landed properties, the rental are expected to drop from 3%-4% to sometimes 1% or 2% and condominium yield from 7% to 8% to 4%-5%.”
Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum
Mah Sing group managing director/chief executive Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum
“The demand will be for smaller units, and for mid-end housing, instead of the high-end ones. If it is a location they want, for example KLCC area, people will buy a little further away like in Jalan Ampang where prices are lower.”
Samuel Tan
“In Johor, price increase is expected to be gradual. Areas with good connectivity will be popular. In the last several years, the emphasis on infrastructures like highways has helped to spur interest and prices. The western coastal highway from Skudai to Bukit Indah has made travelling a breeze and prices have moved 10% or more. Developers are expected to report good sales in the near future although September was a soft month, as a result of the US downgrade in August. Iskandar Malaysia will become more visible and is expected to generate interest from the Japanese, South Koreans and Singaporeans.”
Real Estate Housing Developers' Association (Penang) chairman Datuk Jerry Chan
Datuk Jerry Chan
“Demand for landed units on the mainland and Penang island will continue but yield on the island is expected to be low, at 1% or 2%. The price movement for this year has been greater than last year. We continue to see land prices going up. For the lower to mid-end, prices are still moving. Demand is expected to remain firm for properties priced RM600,000-RM700,000 and below. For those between RM800 and RM1,000 per sq ft or about RM1mil, people will have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.
“Currently, prices on the mainland is a quarter or a fifth of those on the island. Penang people are beginning to find it too expensive on the island and are moving to the mainland.”

Apple's iPhone 4S Hits Stores

TOKYO/LONDON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters): Apple Inc's new iPhone debuted with a splash around the globe, spurring thousands to queue around city blocks and snap up the last gadget unveiled during co-founder Steve Jobs' life.
Apple shares leaped 3 percent to close at a record after people thronged stores in Sydney, Tokyo, London, Paris, New York and San Francisco to get their hands on the iPhone 4S, ignoring criticism about the lack of a design revolution and reports of software glitches.
Fans in Sydney, Tokyo, Frankfurt and London made sure Jobs, who died last week, remained part of the iPhone 4S launch, with flower, candle and photo shrines erected outside stores. A black-and-white picture of the visionary leader in Covent Garden carried the line: "Let's make a dent in the universe."
In New York and San Francisco, hundreds showed up as expected, but the mood proved more subdued than was typical on an iPhone launch day.
"I have a lot of respect for how he led the company and so the turnout, and especially the preorder sales, is a mark of appreciation for him," insisted Chris Centers, who was one of the people who lined up outside the store.
One of the buyers also stopped by to lay flowers at the San Francisco store's glass wall in honor of Jobs.
The new model looks similar to the previous iPhone 4, but has an upgraded camera, faster processor, enhanced security and voice-activated software, which lets users ask the phone questions. The voice software drew glowing reviews.
Unveiled just a day before Jobs died, it was initially dubbed a disappointment, partly because it looked identical to its predecessor. But anticipation of the "Siri" voice software helped it set an online record in orders on Oct. 7.
Rivals' woes may have provided a boost. Research in Motion Ltd struggled for days to fix an international outage of its email and messaging services.
Also, about one in four people who thronged Apple stores from Tokyo to San Francisco told Reuters they were ditching BlackBerries, discarding Nokias , or even giving up Google Inc Android-based phones, hoping for something better.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and his executive team hope the first device sold without Jobs leading Apple will protect the company against a growing challenge from the arch-rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd .
Analysts believe the South Korean company, which powers its phones with Google's Android software, surpassed Apple as the world's biggest smartphone vendor in terms of unit sales in the third quarter.
Apple does not release sales on launch day, so gauging initial figures is difficult. But the company took more than 1 million online orders in the first 24 hours after the release of the iPhone 4S, exceeding the 600,000 for the iPhone 4, which was sold in fewer countries initially.
Sprint Nextel Corp - joining Verizon and AT&T Inc in Apple's roster for the first time - said on Friday it had chalked up a launch-day sales record for any device by around noon. AT&T said that by 4:30 PM on the east coast, it had activated a record number of iPhones in one day and was on track to double the previous record for iPhone activations on a single day.
Jobs "made everything better and the products he released were thought through in such detail," Duncan Hoare, a foreign exchange trader, said as a loud roar greeted the opening of an Apple store in London. "It was about the beauty of something and the simplicity."
The iPhone - seen as the gold standard for smartphones - is Apple's highest-margin product and accounts for 40 percent of its annual revenue. The newest iteration uses chips from Qualcomm Inc , Toshiba Corp and a host of smaller semiconductor companies, according to repair firm iFixit, which cracked the device open on Thursday.
Despite the enthusiasm at stores, Friday's launch was marred somewhat by widespread complaints on the Internet this week about problems downloading iOS 5, the latest version of Apple's mobile software.
There were also problems with iCloud, Apple's online communications, media storage and backup service formally launched on Wednesday. Users reported glitches such as losing their email access.
Queues in Paris were smaller than those normally seen for a brand-new iPhone, with some fans there wondering if the somewhat underwhelming introduction put people off. But in London and elsewhere the lines were as long as ever.
"Despite the initial disappointment that this wasn't an iPhone 5, the reality is we're still seeing the usual frenzy that we've got used to on launch day," analyst Ben Wood at CCS Insight told Reuters. Analysts expect global sales of a few million phones on the first weekend, he added.
Analysts point to several factors in Apple's favor, including a $199 price that matches up well with rival devices and availability promised on more than 100 carriers by the end of 2011, far more than its predecessors.
Underscoring the enthusiasm for the new phone, Japanese mobile carrier Softbank Corp had to temporarily stop contract applications after its computer system was overwhelmed with more requests than it expected.
Some analysts expect fourth-quarter iPhone shipments to reach 30 million or more, almost twice as many as a year ago.
"I am a fan, a big fan. I want something to remember Steve Jobs by," said Haruko Shiraishi, waiting patiently with her Yorkshire terrier Miu Miu at the end of an eight-block queue in Tokyo's smart Ginza shopping district.