If you thought the iPad 2 was a hot commodity here in the US, then it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Apple’s next-gen tablet is even higher demand overseas, and especially in countries where the device has yet to go on sale.
Case in point – China, where iPad 2s are selling for so much money that they’ve created a mini burgeoning industry where folks lineup outside of Apple stores here in the US for hours to get their hands on the iPad 2 where they can then turn around and re-sell the device in China at huge markups.
The New York Times recently profiled this not-so-old strategy at an Apple Store in SoHo. When reporter Nick Bilton was told that the store was out of stock, he asked an Apple employee what time he should arrive the next day when a new shipments of iPad 2s was scheduled to arrive.
the clerk hesitated, looked around as if about to tell me a secret and said: “Well, do you see that group of people outside? They’re already here waiting for tomorrow’s shipment of iPads.”
I looked, and saw that outside the store sat a small group of Chinese men and women ready with camping chairs and apparently all the time in the world, preparing for a chilly night on New York’s streets as they waited to buy the iPad 2.
A grey market for the latest Apple products is of course nothing new, but as Apple has continued to grow in popularity, the resale market for items like the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 upon launch has become increasingly profitable. Of course, the only folks benefiting from this dynamic are the folks who wait outside of Apple stores for hours on end, with the losers being everybody else who wants an iPad for their own personal use. And with the iPad 2 being in short supply from the first day of launch, resellers have been able to hock the iPad 2s for even higher prices that they might normally be able to get away with.
Bilton tried to interview a few of the folks patiently waiting outside for their iPad 2s, but naturally no one was willing to converse. “But one man,” Bilton writes, “who looked to be around 40 years old and declined to share his name, said he could make up to $400 a day by purchasing and reselling the iPad 2.”
That’s not bad at all. $2,000 a week cash free is the equivalent of a $100,000+ salary in the US, which is even more jarring considering that most Chinese immigrants, Nilton notes, make less than $400 a week.