iPhone 5 on gray market in Hong Kong for $1135

Mr. Lo of Hong Kong will happily sell you an iPhone 5 right now for $1135. If you want to buy one through Apple or an authorized retailer, you must wait until Friday.

NewImageAlright, Mr Lo, the ‘master’ of the grey market in Hong Kong who distributed hundreds to thousands of iPhone 4s and iPads to China’s gray market, told the local media that he is selling the iPhone 5 starting at HK$8,800 (about US$1135). When Lo was asked about the sales of the iPhone 5, whether there would be a demand for it, he said the stock for the iPhone 5 is quite tight, so he thinks it will be alright to re-sell the phone for a hefty markup, at least for the first two weeks. What’s more, he has prepared “secret” couriers in U.S. and Europe to hop on planes to Hong Kong after securing about hundreds of iPhone 5s. Right now Lo has already received 100-200 orders from mainland China customers before the iPhone 5 goes on sale in Hong Kong’s Apple retail store. He added that the grey-market iPhone 5 would not be limited in warranty and could come with an international guarantee, meaning owners could go into any Apple shop and have the device checked or replaced if required.
Hong Kong Grey Market Is The World’s First Place to Sell iPhone 5 with Hefty Price Tag (Via MacRumors)


  1. Assuming you’re talking about the 64gb models I’m just curious as the headline suggests that $1135 is shocking, but which part of the world is surprised by this number? Is it only to Americans and perhaps Canadians that $1135 will seem high?

    I split my time with Los Angeles and Bangkok but am in France this month. The official Apple store price I checked just now in France is $1173 USD (using today’s Euro exchange rate which obviously has been fluctuating of late, but you knew that right?) for the 64gb and it’s likely the same in Thailand where historically it comes out several months later, sometimes half way into the product cycle.

    The Hong Kong Apple store, where I go when I’m in SE Asia since Apple has not “officially” opened a retail operation in Bangkok, is often closer to US prices but still higher. HK Apple store is listing the 64gb model at HK$7,188 or around $927 USD but if they have a delayed release as they have in the past then the grey market difference is easy to understand. Even if the release is simultaneous in HK, I doubt it is in main land China

    The iphone has ALWAYS been around $1000 USD outside the US for almost everyone else. And the subsidized price from AT&T inside the US is close enough to this out of your wallet over a contract term anyways.

    You know you can go to the online Apple store and change countries to see the official prices around the world, no passport needed. Just go to XE.com to find the appropriate exchange rate.

      1. Oh my, thought I read it through but didn’t see the link. Felt dumb for a second for speaking up without reading through, but now that I have, the numbers still make me question why this is shocking to some.

        If you’ll indulge me for a moment, I’ll try to explain why these kinds of margins are not so surprising

        According to the article, the HK grey market phone is 39% above US Apple store price. This is in a region that previously had no local Apple stores ensuring some kind of price parity and where previous product cycle releases were delayed sometimes by as much as a half product cycle compared to US.

        So what about the French Apple store being 27.68% higher than the US Apple Store even though there is now an official Apple store and the releases are in sync? Even if one gets the “detaxe” VAT back at the airport, it only get’s knocked down 12%.

        And Italian prices being higher last year as well are probably going to have a week of grey market markups as they have a slightly delayed release as well.

        As a general rule of thumb, I’ve come to expect around 35% higher or worse in Bangkok for all high end electronics compared to US internet pricing. I’ve suit-cased in a lot of workstations and other gear over the years. In almost every purchase order spreadsheet I calculate at what point it costs less to fly to Hong Kong and stay a night in a nice hotel to buy there vs buying locally for our IT purchasing. Typically gear buys north of $1500 to $2000 seem to justify it even though so many of the products are created locally ( Canon, Nikon, Western Digital and Seagate all have factories in Thailand). But then I have to factor weight for the return flight so it’s typically multiple smaller expensive items like iphones, cpus, graphics card or cameras instead of heavier power supplies, ups’s or monitors that get suit-cased.Must be the same in main land China.And it gets worse in other sectors, wine ends up with around 450% in import duties and taxes in Thailand Mini Coopers are between $80,000 and $110,000 USD, pocket lint for Bangkok hi-soIn previous iphone release cycles that were far enough behind US release dates there was some really nasty markups happening in the grey markets. During 3gs it was a 6 month delay and the 4 was not much better. The 4s improved things and I think the 5 is getting alot closer to synchronizing with US schedule. But 40% markup was typical back then especially with the addition of not having an official local Apple store. And it’s clearly still happening in HK for mainland Chinese clients. If I were in Bangkok now I’d call various cell phone vendors at Mah Boon Krong dept store to see what the spread is. I’m sure it’s come down from 40% but I can’t imagine much.

    1. The Hong Kong Apple store will sell the iPhone 5 starting at HK$5,588 (US$720). A 16GB 4S retails from the Apple Store at HK$4,688 (USD604).You can check the HK Apple store yourself at: http://store.apple.com/hk?afid=p219|GOHK&cid=AOS-HK-KWG

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