IPhone 4 Reaches the Gray Market

Just how much would you pay to get an iPhone 4?

Last week, more than 1 million people snapped up the device in the U.S., Japan and other countries where it went on sale. But some Apple fans in Hong Kong, including visitors from China, couldn’t wait, and in some cases paid more than $3,000 for a gray-market iPhone 4.

Lo Lau is earning a handsome profit before the iPhone 4’s official debut in Hong Kong next month. He owns a handset store in Mongkok, a Hong Kong neighborhood that’s well-known to anyone shopping for unlocked iPhones and other gray-market electronics.

“We bought about 30 iPhone 4 handsets from the United Kingdom and the U.S., and they were sold out quickly within a few hours,” Lau said. “Many enthusiastic buyers have made pre-orders, awaiting our shipment of more gray-market iPhone 4s in the coming few days, and half of them are mainland Chinese visitors.”

Many of the cellphone shops inside Sincere Podium, a Mongkok electronics mall located in Mongkok, have eye-catching signs saying, “The latest iPhone 4 is available!”

There are two types of gray-market iPhone 4s for sale: the locked U.S. model and an unlocked British version.

The locked U.S. models are going for $1,135 to $1,394, while the less-restricted unlocked iPhones start at a hefty $2,168 and go as high as $3,096.

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