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British iPads 'being smuggled into China'

Tourists queue to buy Apple's tablet then ship it back to the country it was made it - report

British iPad 2s are being smuggled out of country to make the 6,000 mile journey back to China, the country where they were manufactured, it has been claimed.

A report in this weekend's Sunday Times (subscription required) said that tourists had been queuing up to buy the iPad 2, then taking it back to China, were the device is not officially for sale.

The £399 device can apparently sell for up to £430 in China, though Chinese tourists are also able to claim back the 20 percent VAT, making the profit margins closer to £110.

The iPad 2 is constructed by Foxconn in southern China, meaning that the smuggled iPad 2s are making two 6,000-mile trips to end up where they came from.

However, supplies of the iPad 2 in the UK have been limited - most stores selling the iPad 2 sold out in the device's first weekend on sale and online orders are still subject to shipping delays of two to three weeks, according to the Apple Store website. Also, iPad 2 sales have been limited to two per customer.

But the report quotes an anonymous employee at the Apple Store in London's Covent Garden as saying that they had seen groups of tourists all buying two each. The employee said they were in no doubt that they were to be sold on for profit.

Meanwhile, the iPad 2 won't go on sale in China until September, though the Sunday Times reports that one retailer offered to get an iPad 2 delivered to a reporter within one week. A sales assistant told the reporter that the iPad 2 stocks the company were offering were contraband.


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