I think Gizmodo got the idiot ball rolling with this post, Hong Kong Stores Selling iPads Illegally. Well, Steve Jobs may like to think that his word is The Law, but it ain’t. And there’s nothing illegal about selling an iPad in Hong Kong, even if Apple themselves aren’t selling them here yet. You buy it, you own it, do with it as you please, including reselling it.
Others have actually castigated HK customs for letting this “get by” them. Why should they stop it or look for it? Hong Kong is duty free and tax free for almost everything. You bring in one, you bring in 100, same difference.
As for the price, reportedly HK$8,000 in Mong Kok and Wanchai, stop and think about it. Someone buys it in the US for US$500. They’ve gotta pay round trip airfare for people to go there and get it, they have to pay people for their time, they have to pay the exorbitant rent in their shops and they are certainly entitled to make some profit. Based on that, a 100% mark-up may be excessive, but these dealers are just following the laws of supply and demand – if no one buys it at that price, they’ll drop the price.
None of this would be necessary if more people here knew about drop-ship services in the US like onenow.com – they not only supply a US mailing address, they’ll even supply a US credit card number. So why pay 100% mark-up at a Mong Kok shop when you can get it yourself in this fashion for just a 10 or 20% mark-up (the cost of shipping and service fees)?