According to Reuters, around 26 suppliers for China’s largest online iPhone store, Lanyou Shuma.com, were ordered to appear in court on Wednesday this week for smuggling iPhones and iPads in the country. It is estimated that over 162,000 iPhones and iPads worth 500 million yuan ($80 million) were smuggled from Hong Kong over the past two years. Interestingly, half of the suppliers tried were described as “housewives who frequently travel to Hong Kong.”
They were reportedly paid around 20 to 30 yuan for every device they smuggled. Luxury products, such as the iPhone and the iPad, have strict import duties to do when they are sold in China. This forces many Chinese suppliers to shop in places like Hong Kong where duties are lower. “This discrepancy in prices has led to a booming smuggling industry where, for example, iPhones are bought in the United States or Hong Kong, carried into China in suitcases by smugglers and then passed to scalpers in China,” Reuters added.