An iPhone smuggler has been arrested after attempting to sneak a record 102 handsets into mainland China. The woman, who was traveling from Hong Kong, was also carrying 15 luxury watches for a total 42 pounds of contraband.
You don’t have to visit a Foxconn factory to see an iPhone built from scratch.
Visit China’s black market and you’ll meet traders with the components, tools, and know-how to build you a working handset for a fraction of the price you would pay Apple. The whole process is complete by the time you’ve finished your coffee.
Police in Tigard, Oregon have cracked an organized retail crime ring which used stolen gift cards worth three-quarters of a million dollars to buy iPhones bound for the Hong Kong black market.
Tigard Detective T.J. Hahn told the local KOIN 6 News that organized retail theft has become a bigger crime than even drug sales.
“This kind of activity makes millions of millions of dollars, into the billions,” he said.
In many places around the world, around the first 50 people in line waiting for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last week appeared to be resellers — looking to make a quick (and relatively easy) buck selling Apple’s next generation iPhone on the gray/black market.
While we definitely noticed the phenomenon, YouTube filmmaker Casey Neistat took his camera out on the streets of New York to interview and film the crowds gathered waiting for the new handsets at various Apple Stores around the city.
“Gone are the spirit and excitement from years past,” Neistat observes. “These lines are now about something else entirely.”
São Paulo, Brazil – The arrival of the much-awaited Brazilian iPad may be in doubt – although our trip to the Foxconn factory showed that an local iPhone is in the works – one thing is certain: there’s a huge market for gadgets here.
Brazilians pay some of the highest prices in the world for their iDevices, but many of them buy alternatives – black or gray market goods and fakes.
Commerce hub São Paulo has a whole neighborhood dedicated to selling these off-market electronic items called Santa Ifigênia, where I paid a visit with Alessandro Salvatori of Blog do iPhone.
There’s a huge demand for the iPhone in China, a demand so big that Apple is continually struggling to meet it. That means there’s plenty of business for scalpers who obtain the device any way they can, just to sell it off for a huge profit in the grey and black markets.
And these scalpers are smart and tech-minded. To make the whole process of buying iPhones a lot easier, scalpers have built a special application that purchases the smartphones in bulk from the Apple online store. Even worse, it runs on Windows. Oh, the irony.