iPhone 6 sales slow on Chinese black market ahead of official launch

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Apple is reportedly just one step away from gaining permission from the Chinese government to sell the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in the country. In the meantime, the only way for Chinese Apple fans to buy the latest model is to grab one of the many imported iPhone 6 units flooding the country’s black market, where prices range in the thousands of dollars. However, sales of unauthorized iPhone 6 models are falling.

Why? Price could play a big part. At one market in Beijing, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus go for 6,500 renminbi to 8,800 renminbi, which amounts to $1,060 to $1,436, but this is a substantial decrease from prices in the early days, when prices ranged from 12,000 renminbi to 15,000 renminbi ($1,960 to $2,450).

Some wholesalers in China attribute the decrease in price to an overabundance of smuggled iPhone 6 units in the country. “Stocks of the iPhone 6 are way too high right now,” a seller of smuggled iPhones told the New York Times.

The impending official launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in China could also account for slow sales on the black market. After all, it’s much cheaper and safer to buy an official Apple iPhone than one that was smuggled into the country.

More of a concern to Apple is that others posit the growing popularity of homegrown smartphone manufacturers such as Meizu, Xiaomi, and Oppo is to blame for the declining demand for new iPhone models in China. Although local smartphone makers are much more popular in China than ever before, the iPhone probably isn’t doomed there yet, and is still seen as a status symbol.

The article confirms earlier reports that hint the new iPhone may gain regulatory approval from the Chinese government before October 1, but Apple is expected to wait until mid-October before putting the phones on sale.

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