When the iPad 2 came out, I stood in line for three-and-a-half hours at my local Apple retail store. I was one of the last people in line to receive a voucher to enter the store. I ended up having to buy a different model than I had planned because the store was already sold out of the one I wanted. I cursed under my breath at the greedy buyers ahead of me that I knew were purchasing multiple units in order to sell them overseas to countries that had not yet had an official launch. “Not fair,” I thought. Why should someone else get to buy two iPads when they are just going to turn around and sell them for a profit. I want to use mine.
Yesterday, Reuters reported on the difficulties of selling the new iPad on the black market this year. “Good,” I thought. It is sweet justice for all those that haven’t been able to get their hands on one because of these tricksters. Its about time Apple did something to combat overwhelming black market iPad sales.
It was not just Apple that helped slow down the market, although the company’s decision to release the iPad in 16 countries on launch day and 23 more countries only a week later helped immensely. China’s customs regulations also played a part in making it more difficult to get the gadgets overseas without it costing more than they could be sold for.
According to Reuters, Chinese customs authorities told some U.S.-based shipping agents not to accept iPad orders. California-based shipping company BIZ posted a notice on its website saying, “”Our clearing warehouses have stopped receiving iPad in accordance with a recent customs authority notification.”
Chinese customs authorities have also been warning travelers that they must declare electronic devices at the border and pay a 10 percent import duty. According to state-owned Guangzhou Daily, the new iPad is among 20 taxable goods that must be declared by travelers.
“It’s getting really hard to do this compared to previous years,” said one woman who spoke to Reuters about selling iPads on the black market. An electronics dealer based in Oakland, CA told Reuters that he struggled to break even this year, claiming he had to send 250 iPads via FedEx, which is significantly more expensive than other international shippers. “This whole game is over,” he said. “There’s an overabundance of supply. The market is flooded.”
Good. It only took three years and three different models of iPads to figure out how to put a damper on black market iPad sales. Hopefully, Apple and China will use these same tactics when the next iPhone comes out as well.