There is a healthy business shipping iPads from the wealthy Apple cathedrals in the US back to the places they were made.
Ironically the iPad is made in China so the product can be shipped cheaply to the west, but it is now being sold back to the country of origin for many times the price it was made.
The Guardian had a chat to a man called Wong Tat who shipped 24 of them to China. The outlay was about $12,000 but he was confident he would make a killing from the sale. Apparently he would make $24,000 in the allies of Shanghai for them.
They are being flown to duty free Hong Kong and then smuggled across the border in students’ backpacks across the border onto the mainland.
London’s Evening Standard indignantly reported that “black market gangs” had hijacked the launch and left an Apple Store in the Westfield shopping centre with most of the stock. Ok, they did pay for it, but poor London fans were left with just two iPads to fight over. To the Standard, it was a grave insult to the sanctity of the British queue that had been violated by Johnny Foreigner.
Some of them were sent to India, but others went out to people with very thick necks who normally use their hands to pummel owners of bars in downtown Sofia rather than tapping away on a tablet.
Apparently it is getting tougher to run the tablets into China. That is because the Chinese customs authority has told some US-based shipping agents not to accept orders of iPads, and warned travellers to declare their gadgets at the border and pay a 10 percent import duty on electronics.
This is bad news for fanboys who might have bought a tablet for themselves as they have to pay ten percent on the thing every time they go over the border.
What is amazing is that the tablets find a market in a place where it would be, on average, about three years of salary to get a basic model.
The Guardian insists that iPads and iPhones have become badges of western chic and status to upwardly mobile Chinese, at the same time as more recent surveys show that the cool value of the iPad in the west has decreased.
What is also ironic is that while the kids who make the iPads at Foxconn probably never want to see one ever again, those outside the factory are prepared to pay a fortune to get one. Apple could resolve all this by selling them itself, but it does not want to do this.