Skip to comments.Tough times in the U.S.-China iPad smuggling game
Posted on 03/27/2012 11:11:14 AM PDT by bigbob
Early on the morning of March 16, Wong Tat joined a line of about 100 people waiting for the launch of the new iPad in a chilly rain outside an Apple store on the outskirts of San Francisco.
When the doors opened, he was among the first to buy his quota of two iPads -- the maximum Apple Inc allows per person. Then, sporting a bright red cap for easy identification, Wong began to direct a stream of people toting their new tablets to a silver Mercedes SUV in the parking lot.
After about two dozen of the neatly boxed iPads had been put in the trunk, the SUV sped to a nearby run-down hair salon and massage parlor. There, the haul of the tablets costing about $12,000 was transferred to red, white and blue wholesale bags, which Wong then spirited out the back door into another car.
"They are headed for China," said Amy, a 30-something hair stylist at the salon who had joined in the pre-dawn operation outside the Apple store. She would not divulge her last name.
The iPads had embarked on the first leg of a journey that would ironically return them to the country where they were assembled in the first place. They may have been stuffed into suitcases and taken by passengers on a flight to China, or possibly flown by courier to the duty-free territory of Hong Kong and smuggled in students' backpacks across the border into mainland China.
Demand for Apple products, coupled with severe constraints on local supply, has created a thriving black market. 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.
(Excerpt) Read more at ecnmag.com ...
Good example of supply and demand at work. Guess it's a good thing that a US-based company can create a product that is so much in demand it creates a black market like this.
Wonder if these guys are taking credit for the sales tax boom in California? There is one, right? ...
Or they may have ended up smelling like prison cigarettes taste.