Unadulterated love for one of the world’s most popular products, and a depressing dearth of its supplies in the local market have driven Chinese Apple lovers to take on an offbeat path. According to reports, new iPads being smuggled into China are increasingly becoming a topic of worry and go on to say a lot about just how popular Apple products are in the country. The report traces the journey of the new iPad from a swanky Apple store in San Francisco to the bylanes of China, all in a bid to get the product to the country where a legal battle has been on between Apple Inc. and Proview Technologies, with the latter claiming to be the rightful owner of the patented term – iPad.
Citing an instance of March 16, when Wong Tat, a black market operator also referred to as “huangniu,” or yellow-bull black-market operator in Chinese and several others, after taking two units of a newly launched new iPad, loaded their lot onto a silver Mercedes SUV in the parking lot in San Francisco; the report goes on to give just one of the many instances wherein the iPad made its way to China. From the swanky store in San Francisco, the next stop had been a hair salon and massage parlour, close by, wherein the entire lot of about 2 dozen iPads, collectively costing about $12,000 was moved to another car, neatly stashed in red, white and blue wholesale bags – heading to destination China!
The iPads were making their way to the Chinese market, where the black market for the iPad is booming, owing to a discord between increasing demand and supplies, in the wake of the legal battle. Reportedly, “A 16-gigabyte iPad bought in San Francisco for $499 — about $540 including tax — can be sold for more than $1,000 in Shanghai the next day. Apple sold more than 3 million of the devices — which now come 4G-ready with a sharper “retina” display — in its first weekend.“
People, like Tat, reportedly aren't the only ones who queue up in stores selling iPads. Companies into iPad accessories, like cases and speakers hire people who are expected to stand in queues on the day of the launch. The report further goes on to add that iPad accessory makers “do not get an early peek at Apple products“, hence they're all out there just as the new iPads and iPhones hit stores to make apt accessories. The report further adds that the smuggling market is dense in its operation in the United States, mainly, as compared to the other countries they operate out of, since that is where most products are housed. There's no question about the tablet's popularity in the country. According to the report, “Last Friday in Hong Kong, stores ran out of the newest iPad within hours. They are now sold via a daily lottery there, while they are still readily available in many U.S. stores.“
However, this run has been getting increasingly difficult, since the Chinese authorities have caught a whiff of this and have asked some U.S-based shipping agents to not accept iPad orders. Those traveling with the tablet, too have been asked to declare their gadgets at the border and also pay up a 10 percent import duty on electronics. However, this market's now slowly proceeding towards the twilight of its run, eversince Apple got onto launching its products in multiple markets, simultaneously. Quoting an Oakland dealer, the report states, “Apple has gotten so big that they can flood the market. Before they released it, they probably had been making them for six months and had them sitting in a warehouse. Now they are selling it in Asia and Australia, and it's out 16 hours before us.”