updated 03:15 pm EDT, Fri July 23, 2010
Local sales a boost to gray market
Hong Kong is and should only increase in importance as a hub for gray-market iPads, reports from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal note. The iPad is officially going on sale in nine new regions today; aside from Hong Kong, these include Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore. Some Hong Kong residents have been able to get the iPad since the US launch, however, through vendors selling tablets originally bought in American stores.
Although the number of local gray-market clients is likely to shrink, it's anticipated that Hong Kong will serve as a funnel for buyers in areas like Vietnam and mainland China, where Apple has yet to even hint at iPad plans. One Hong Kong vendor, Kurt Lo, says he has already received orders for between 300 and 400 units for export. In his case Chinese vendors are expected to each pick up bundles of anywhere between 10 and 50 iPads for resale.
Apple's small presence in China may hurt some shoppers. A Beijing vendor, Wang Pingdao, comments that he is planning to sell the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad in China for 4,300 yuan ($634 US), after buying units in Hong Kong for only $3,888 ($500 US). Still more profit should be made next week, when the iPhone 4 becomes available in Hong Kong.
Gray-market iPhones have done well in China this year. Some 400,000 were sold in the first half of 2010, even as official carrier China Unicom sold 500,000. Hong Kong iPhones are said to be particularly attractive, as they are unlocked by default and easier to update. They also have Wi-Fi, currently unavailable on Unicom's models.