Tough times in the U.S.-China iPad smuggling game

“It’s getting tougher and costlier to smuggle the devices into China as the Chinese customs authority has told some U.S.-based shipping agents not to accept orders of iPads, and warned travelers to declare their gadgets at the border and pay a 10 percent import duty on electronics,” Gerry Shih, Poornima Gupta and Lee Chyen Yee report for Reuters. “Two small shipping companies that ship to China, BLZ Express and Global Courier Services, said they now refuse iPad shipments… UPS and FedEx, the largest U.S. package delivery companies, did not return messages for a comment.”
“Furthermore, Apple now simultaneously launches devices in multiple countries, boosting availability and depressing black market prices,” Shih, Gupta and Yee report. “‘It’s getting really hard to do this compared to previous years,’ said Amy, who wore a dyed red streak in her hair, as she trimmed a young man’s ‘faux-hawk’ hair style in the San Francisco area salon.”

Shih, Gupta and Yee report, “An electronics dealer in Oakland, California, said he struggled to break even this year, a far cry from previous iPad releases when he shipped upwards of 1,000 tablets and pocketed profits of $50 to $100 per device sent to his buyer in Hong Kong. This year, he had no choice but to send 250 iPads via FedEx — which quotes $110 to ship a 2-pound tablet to China — hours after they hit U.S. stores. But the same-day launch of the tablet in 10 territories, including Hong Kong, curtailed demand. ‘This whole game is over,’ the dealer complained.”

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