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The iPhone 5 is still some time away from being launched in China, but eager fans are already crowding the Internet grey market to get their hands on the new Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) smartphone. The device had an average turnover value of 713 on 150 million buyer-strong Taobao Marketplace over the past six days, according to Reuters, indicating a high density of transactions. By comparison, the iPhone 4S had an average turnover value of 314.
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“We smuggle our iPhone 5s from Hong Kong to the mainland,” one online seller on Taobao Marketplace, whose shop has sold more than 700 units of the device, told Reuters. “You don’t need to worry about fake ones.”
China’s grey market usually sees a strong demand for newly launched electronic items because of the procedural delays involved in getting the products to the country. While the iPhone 5 reportedly received approval from the country’s quality certification center this week, it will still need approval from the government’s telecom department before being released on the networks of Apple’s partners China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) and China Telecom (NYSE:CHA).
The iPhone 5 went on sale in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and the UK on September 21. Apple’s share of China’s smartphone market almost halved to 10 percent in the June-ending quarter as buyers waited for the iPhone 5 or moved to rival platforms such as Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android.
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