China’s gray market is notorious for selling new iPhones to customers at inflated prices. In the past, Apple hasn’t included China in the list of countries in which it officially releases the iPhone on launch day, but it has this time around. Both new iPhones will be officially available in China on launch day, September 20th. Apple has already started collecting reservations and the devices are also being sold through China Unicom and China Telecom, two of the biggest carriers in the country behind China Mobile, which is expected to launch the devices as well later this year. A new WSJ report indicates that this change might have dealt a fatal blow to the once booming gray market.
Wai Cheuk, owner of a handset store in Mongkok, Hong Kong, says that the “good old days have gone.” Previously, Apple used to release new iPhones first in Hong Kong, mainland China used to come next. Scalpers would siphon off units to mainland China and sell a unit that costs $700 for as much as $1000. Even if the gray market doesn’t die out completely, profit margins are now expected to be lot less than they once used to be. By making a slight change in its launch tradition, Apple may have found a fix for a problem that has caused many iPhone fans to pay exorbitantly for one of its new smartphones.
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