iPad 2 hits China's gray markets

iPad 2 hits China's gray markets

Apple’s new iPad 2 has only been on sale a week in the United States, but Chinese buyers are already clamoring to get their hands on one
China ipad 2 - gray market
Status-conscious Chinese consumers can't wait to buy the iPad 2, even as Apple drops the price of the original iPad to RMB 2,888.

Supplies of Apple’s iPad 2 barely touched the shelves after their March 11 debut in the United States, but that’s not stopping Chinese tech-hungry buyers -- many of the iPad 2s sold are destined for Chinese shores, according to media reports.

WantChinaTimes writes that buyers for China’s thriving gray tech market were paid between US$80 and US$100 to stand in line for iPad 2s at the United States launch, and then to ship the product to awaiting customers in China.

On Taobao.com, China’s largest online shopping platform, iPad 2s are selling for anywhere from RMB 4,800 to RMB 5,500.

Apple has yet to announce when the iPad 2 -- which is thinner than the original iPad and offers a faster processor and FaceTime video chat -- will be available in its Beijing and Shanghai stores.

Following the United States launch, the iPad 2 will go on sale in a further 26 countries (not including China) by March 26, and “many more countries around the world in coming months,” according to the Apple press release.

Although Chinese Apple fans are excited by the new technology's arrival in their own country, the world’s second largest PC market, it’s a relatively new market for Apple, which recently made a major push, opening five stores in Beijing and Shanghai.

“Apple’s been doing tremendously well in China, not just with the iPad but as a whole,” Bryan Ma, an analyst at research firm IDC, told the Wall Street Journal.

"There has been high demand for the iPad," he said, adding that he expects to see similar interest in the iPad 2, as tablet sales boom.

Apple’s launch of the iPad and iPhone has made it a major competitor in the Chinese market, but domestic companies have quickly turned out their own tablets, not content to let Apple run away with the market just yet.

The iPad 2 will be a mixed blessing for Asian tech companies, according to a report in the WSJ, with local suppliers benefiting from increased demand for tablets overall, but also facing stiffer competition from Apple.

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