iPhone 6

Gray market iPhone 6 prices plummet in China, as Apple preps official sales

Gray market prices in China for the iPhone 6 Plus had topped out at over $2,000

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

A customer holds an iPhone 6 (R) and iPhone 6 Plus after the phones went on sale Sept. 19.

Credit: Image credit: REUTERS/Adrees Latif

After trying to charge upward of $2,000 for an iPhone 6, gray market dealers in China are slashing prices as Apple prepares to begin sales of the product in the country.

Apple will finally launch its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in mainland China on Friday, a month after sales began in the U.S. and several other markets including Hong Kong.

In the meantime, gray market dealers in China had been offering their own stock of iPhone 6 models, smuggled in from other countries. Back on Sept 19, the day of the iPhone 6 launch, merchants in Beijing estimated the first incoming units could reach up to $3,000 or more.

Phone 6 Plus Apple

Apple's iPhone 6 Plus in Space Gray.

Device Prices, a service that tracks China's gray market for electronics, said the iPhone 6 Plus once fetched a particularly high price. The space-gray color of the 64GB model was being offered at around 15,616 yuan ($2,546), 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 (US$1,510).

But gray 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, gray market vendors are offering the models at an even cheaper price than Apple, according to Device Prices. The space gray 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 gray market are priced only slightly higher than the official cost offered by Apple. One reason gray 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.

To express your thoughts on Computerworld content, visit Computerworld's Facebook page, LinkedIn page and Twitter stream.
Windows 10 annoyances and solutions
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.