Forget for the moment the legal problems. The fact is demand for Apple’s new iPad in China (still not offically released but that has never been a meaningful term) is slower than for the tech company’s first two tablets, with the gadget’s price already falling within the first week of it reaching the market.
Unauthorised resellers in Beijing and Shanghai said they had to cut prices by close to 30 per cent over the past week because of sluggish demand. A sales clerk at Buynow, an electronics mall in Beijing, said, 'The market is basically saturated.'
Apple launched the device in 10 countries on March 16, but has not yet announced an official launch date for China. However, as usual, the new iPad found its way into Chinese shops less than a day after going on sale in the US, smuggled in from Hong Kong and America.
When the new iPad went on sale in Beijing on March 17, the most expensive model carried a RMB5,200 ($825) price tag. But the price dropped to RMB4,500 on the first day. Within three days, the price plunged to RMB3,700.
When the iPad 2 first came out in the grey market, it sold for as much as RMB8,000, and it took about two weeks for prices to come down to RMB3,000, according to resellers.
Xue Jinpeng, a reseller in Zhongguancun, Beijing’s technology district, said, 'People are getting a lot more rational about the iPad now. They are a lot more willing to wait until prices come down or even until the official launch.'
Over the past two years, Apple has seen rapid growth in China. When the company reported annual results in January, Tim Cook, chief executive, raved to investors about the country, calling demand 'staggering' and 'off the charts'.