The Apple iPhone 6 will start selling in 20 more countries this week, and the law of supply and demand is creating an overnight gray market for the phones.
Smart shoppers have begun cashing their iPhones in like chips at a poker table after drawing a winning hand. One backpacker in Sydney bought a phone and said he plans to sell it as soon as stocks run low to ostensibly finance more travels.
Already the phones are selling out in U.S. stores, reports Bloomberg. Some people who have braved long lines to buy the phones are scalping them in back-alley and Internet deals that invite comparisons to major sporting events, where scarce tickets command big prices.
Nowhere is that more evident than in Hong Kong, much to the delight of sellers, including ex-pat Chinese who are buying them in the U.S. to turn a tidy profit. Apple has yet to receive a critical network licensing agreement from Chinese regulators, according to Reuters, leading to a window of opportunity in capitalist-minded Hong Kong. The irony is that the Chinese Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. employed more than 200,000 people to assemble the new iPhones, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal found that Hong Kong resellers are getting double the retail price from mainland Chinese customers, who are particularly desperate to get ahold of the new gold-colored iPhone 6 Plus, which is considered a status symbol. The phones are reportedly fetching prices up to $3,600, whereas in the U.S., the new iPhones phones cost $200 to $900, depending on the carrier, storage capability and contract terms.
A quick check of eBay showed prices for the iPhone 6's ranging from $660 from a reseller in Canada to $1,550 for the top-end iPhone 6 Plus, with maximum storage. One cheeky eBay reseller was perhaps poking fun at the iPhone 6 buying frenzy by asking a cool $1 million for one of the bigger-screen phones. Or was it a typo?