Bangkok/Shanghai: The new iPhone looks set to be a huge hit in Asian countries where it goes on sale on Friday, but the sleek smartphone is already in high demand in black markets from Shanghai to Bangkok.
In Thailand, a South-East Asian hub for pirated goods where Apple Inc.’s iPhone is not officially for sale, dealers boast they only need a few weeks to smuggle in the trendy phones and “unlock” them for use on local mobile networks.
In Hong Kong, Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd has been flooded with online applications from buyers, but retailers in the rest of China—where the iPhone is not officially offered—are also gearing up to sell hacked phones.
On Shanghai’s posh Huaihai Road, a merchant at Cybermart mall said an unlocked iPhone is priced at 3,000 yuan (Rs18,960), while a Chinese copy would cost 1,000 yuan.
©2008/New York Times