Smuggled iPad 2 goes from China to the UK and back again

The saying “up and down like a yoyo” might as well have been made for the latest iPad 2 headlines.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, the device is going backwards and forwards between Southern China, where it’s made in the Foxconn factories, to the UK, and then 6,000 miles back to China again. If iPads had airmiles they’d be quids in.

The ridiculous toing and froing comes as a result of the iPad 2 not officially being for sale in its country of birth. This means that Chinese tourists have been buying the device in the UK and then taking it back with them.  

According to the Sunday Times, which obtained its information from an anonymous employee at the Apple Store in Covent Garden, groups of tourists are buying multiple devices each time.

The employee claims he was in “no doubt that they were to be sold on for profit”. The gadgets, which are sold here for £399 at the cheapest, can sell for up to £430 in China. Add to that the fact that Chinese tourists can claim back the 20 percent VAT and they get a tidy little profit of around £110.

How successful the tourists have been is questionable. It’s no secret that supplies of the iPad 2 in the UK are limited, with stores selling out and website orders taking up to two weeks to arrive.

Last week, the New York Times ran a story about Chinese men and women queueing up at a New York Apple store for the next days shipments of the iPads for the same reason.

The iPad 2 is expected to go on sale from September in China.