iPhone 4S grey market booming in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s iPhone 4S fans eagerly snapped up Apple’s latest smartphone offering this weekend, with some paying six times the phone’s retail value.

Dealers had managed to secure grey imports of the much-anticipated Apple product, as the iPhone 4S is not yet on sale in Hong Kong. Apple released the iPhone 4S in seven countries across the globe. Hong Kong dealers, therefore, had to snag models from countries such as Japan and Australia.

The imported iPhone 4S’ retail from between HK$10 000 and HK$12 000 or US$1 300 to US$1 500 on the grey market. In the US, the standard retail price is from US$200 to US$400 with a mandatory two-year contract.

An Apple news site reported that one man spent HK$861 000 or US$110 700 on 82 new iPhones.

On 28 October, the iPhone 4S will be released in another 22 countries. Analysts expect the iPhone 4S to be officially released in Hong Kong by next year or towards the end of the year.

An importer from Hong Kong said sales had been rapid, “I have sold about 100 iPhone 4S since yesterday. Several customers bought ten of them to resell to others.”

The dealer was quick to point out, however, that the demand for the iPhone 4S was less than that of the iPhone 4.

Getting illegal phones into the country seems to be at least as lucrative as importing legal iPhone 4S’. Shenzhen News reports that smugglers have gone to great lengths to get the Apple products into the Hong Kong.

One report even documented pirates shooting a bolt from a crossbow to create a line from one building to another. From this juncture, bags filled with illegal iPhone 4S’ could be “safely” snuck into Hong Kong. When the smugglers were eventually caught, the collective value of the Apple products were priced at US$46 500.

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon


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