Apple will finally launch its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in mainland China on Friday, a month after sales began in Australia, the US and several other markets including Hong Kong.
In the meantime, grey market dealers in China had been offering their own stock of iPhone 6 models, smuggled in from other countries. Back on 19 September, the day of the iPhone 6 launch, merchants in Beijing estimated the first incoming units could reach up to $3,000 or more.
Device Prices, a service that tracks China’s grey market for electronics, said the iPhone 6 Plus once fetched a particularly high price. The space grey-colour of the 64GB model was being offered at around 15,616 yuan ($2930), or over double its original price, when it first arrived.
The silver 64GB version of the iPhone 6, on the other hand, was priced at around 9266 yuan ($1738).
But grey market dealers have since been cutting prices on the iPhone 6 models, after Apple made it known late last month that the product would arrive soon.
In some cases, grey market vendors are offering the models at an even cheaper price than Apple, according to Device Prices. The space grey 16GB version of the iPhone 6, for example, will cost consumers around 5075 yuan, about 200 yuan less than its official price.
Other models in China’s grey market are priced only slightly higher than the official cost offered by Apple. One reason grey market dealers can offer a better deal on the iPhone 6 is because of a Chinese import duty on electronics.
Analysts expect Apple’s newest smartphone will sell well in the Chinese market, especially among existing iPhone users who want to upgrade to a bigger screen. In a sign of the demand, JD.com, a top e-commerce site in the country, showed on Monday that over 9 million users had made a reservation to order an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 Plus when stock becomes available.