In China, iPad fever is cooling

In China, iPad fever is cooling

Summary: It is almost a month since Apple released its new iPads, and as usual, the kit is not yet officially launched in China. But buoyant overseas purchases enabled Chinese people to have any products as fast as consumers in other countries, at a higher cost. The black-market price, on the other hand, measures the popularity of these products. The new iPad this time, received very lukewarm responses in China.


Although Apple's new launches were always sought after by Chinese consumers, sales prospects for the latest generation of iPads may not be that promising in the territory.

A year ago when iPad 2 were delivered to Beijing one day after the launch, some private dealers sold the low-end WiFi-model for RMB10,000 (US$1,600) a set and it was still a hot scene. This March, the "debut price" in Beijing was only around RMB5,000 (US$800) and the prices almost declined day by day.

According to prices quoted on Taobao, China's largest Internet consumer-to-consumer retail portal, many dealers these days priced the new kit at RMB3,600 (US$570) for the low-end model, which is even lower than the official retail prices of RMB3,688 (US$585) for the equivalent version of iPad 2 sold in China, before the discount.

On China's tweeter-like Sina Weibo, netizens were sharing pictures in which many scalpers were returning the new iPads to Apple Stores in the US, instead of reselling them to China.

Hong Kong is one of the major origins of the new iPads resold in China, as the duty-free haven sells Apple products at the lowest prices in the world. Despite Apple suspending the direct sales of new iPads and adopting a lottery reserving system, a private digital dealer in the city, who declined to disclose himself, said the reselling price of the new iPads is very close to official retail price due to "sufficient inventory".

Chinese consumers also complained  that the new iPads look no different from the earlier generation, yet runs hotter, and is pricier -- since iPad 2 is now sold at a discount.

The lukewarm market response in China contrasts with Apple's March 19 announcement which claimed to have sold three million of the new iPads worldwide in only three days.

In late March, First Financial Daily, a Chinese newspaper, interviewed  a Foxconn employee who served at the production lines of the new iPad in China. The employee claimed that his/her holidays had increased to three days per week from only one day in the past, as Apple cut back production of the new iPads.

According to the report, Apple started mass-manufacturing the new iPads since January while cutting production notably in March. The report also cited some private dealers in China who claimed to suffer a loss as they purchased the new iPads at a fairly high prices while the reselling prices are disappointingly low.

See also:

Topics: Apple, Browser, iPad, Mobility, China

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  • I would HOPE so!!!

    A guys selling a kidney to get an iDevice is extreme even for one such as I an avid Apple fan. So yeah cooling dow a bit would be a good and strangely enough healthy thing there:)

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • This article is cheap sensationalism

      Couple on insignificant accounts of data all of sudden ends the "fever".

      Mention of "hotness" and the same look as previous model as possible causes for that is ridiculous. First of all, even hotter iPad 3 still colder than, say, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Second, all of Apple's products, except for iPods, basically stay the same outside for many years. This has nothing to do with starting or ending fevers.
  • Told ya

    I said these returns were going to happen when the Tablet failed to sell out in the first 3 days it was on store shelves.

    I guess creating an artificial demand was a good strategy after all huh?

    Don't get me wrong, I have used the new iPad for about a month and it is a pretty nice tablet but, it might be the Tablet that failed to slam the door on competitors and ends up being the end of the iPad reign.
    • Yeah except I've read articles like this is the past regarding

      regarding this or that Apple product and once the real numbers come out turns out these articles were WRONG!!! Just saying... Wait till the actual numbers come out:)

      Besides don't iPads that sell in the black market still count as iPad sales?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • This has nothing to do with sales.

        This is Apple's first big marketing gaffe in years!

        You know, celebrities hate paparazzi when they're not making a movie but they see them as a necessity when they are...

        These scalpers are scum and we all hate them but, they fill a need for marketing purposes... And this is going to prove to be a big problem if Apple doesn't learn from this mistake.
      • I think you mean "If it proves true" this will prove to be

        Peter Perry
        a big problem? Still I don't see it myself. HUGE sales of a device weather through the front door or back depending on black markets (which China is kind famous for) is again a problem because? I just can't see it myself. Also a marketing gaffe every few years is terrible how? Granted a gaffe is a gaffe but if your going to have them and you will having only one every so often and in this case as you stated "in years" is not so bad a thing I tend to think.

        Pagan jim
        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
    • Yeah right, Mr. Perry,

      you and your brother (or is it alias) Toddbottom3, whom constantly gripe about how bad Apple products are and that you prefer the Transformer Prime, expect any one here to believe that you went out and spent $500.00 on a new iPad?

      Wow! Btw, I have some land to, really I do!
  • It seems that there are people that make mature decisions.

    "Chinese consumers also complained that the new iPads look no different from the earlier generation, yet runs hotter, and is pricier since iPad 2 is now sold at a discount."

    Now that's what I call commonsense.
    • Yeah I mean what ever happened to the pentagon tablet shape?

      or circular? And that improved screen who needs that? Still if they are buying iPad2's instead it's all good:)

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • Simple, IPAD rise and fall

  • The alternate explanation is...

    ...Apple has finally predicted how many they have to make and has been able to make them.
    • I know! I remember back in the day when Apple guessed low

      there were articles right here on ZDNet about how Apple was hurting itself by not making enough and customers would be leaving Apple in droves. You really can't win for loosing!!!


      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • You do realize there was a near catastrophic iPad 2 production shortfall?

    I its first quarter of iPad 2 sales Apple sold a measly 5 million iPad 2s and iPad 1s combined due to their inability to make the 2s fast enough, combined with the Japanese earthquake disaster.

    They are likely to sell triple the amount of iPad 3s -- low scalper prices are the best new possible -- it means they have greatly upped manufacturing capacity.
    Ted T.
  • Scalping..

    Let's see. Apple is actively trying to reduce scalping and gray marketing of their products. The iPad 2 wasn't available immediately in Hong Kong, so there was a big gray market. Today, the new iPad IS available in Hong Kong for EXACTLY the same price as in the US. So why would someone pay a huge markup for a gray market iPad, when they could fly to HK for less money, and just buy one there? Also, people are smarter, and they know that the new iPad will be coming soon to the mainland stores, so they can wait.

    This doesn't show a reduction in demand, it shows an increase in shopping savvy on the part of the Chinese consumer, and improved availability by Apple. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • Geez! You Apple fanboys are so predictable...

    Here is an article which seems to have some negative or not so nice news about the iPad sales, and you fanboys come screaming in, saying that, it's not possible or it's some strange quirk in the consumer space, or the reports are exaggerated, or people don't know what they're talking about.

    Believe it or not, Apple doesn't need the defense that you apologists and fanatics have to offer. You all sound like you're needing to defend a member of the family. James Quinn, you're offender number one, and please, try to get a life. Apple will survive and perhaps go on to bigger and better things, but, people like you are an embarrassment to common sense and practicality.
    • Yeah I know but it's fun:)

      After all I'll get to say "I told you so" when the truth about iPad sales come out! And based on the history of these kinds of stories and Apple it's almost a sure thing that i'm correct. So if I had not mentioned these things here I won't be able to crow later see?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • What?

        The truth about Apple sales?

        Do the words MOST VALUABLE COMPANY ON EARTH mean anything to you?
  • Hmmmm.....

    Maybe Cook should resign because of the lack of "sales" in China. :-)
    • No...

      Obviously he should shut down the company and give the money back to the shareholders...It's over Apple, look at you, the "fever" is gone!
  • Steve..

    Steve would have never let a clunkier, hotter, iPad get to market.