Chinese shoppers buying 'grey market' iPads

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The Independent Online

Apple's iPad is selling on China's grey market only days after it went on sale in the US, a report said Friday.

The iPad was selling at a 50 percent mark-up to its US retail price of 500 dollars, but prices were set to fall on the Chinese market due to its wide availability and weaker-than-expected demand, the Financial Times said.

The report said the device was selling in "some mainland China and Hong Kong stores" and quoted one Hong Kong shopowner as saying the iPad was only "half as popular" as Apple's iPhone, which went on sale on the grey market in 2007.

At the time, the iPhone sold for 1,300 US dollars, or twice its US retail price, two years before its official launch in China, the paper said.

Hong Kong and mainland China have vibrant grey markets with a huge array of legitimate products available but with a higher price tag.

Apple has not said when it will officially launch the iPad in China.

US consumers have snapped up 450,000 iPads since they went on sale on Saturday, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said Thursday.

"We're making (iPads) as fast as we can," he said. "Evidently we can't make enough of them yet so we are going to have to try harder."

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