There’s No Law Against It


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 – 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)?


9 thoughts on “There’s No Law Against It

  1. Sam

    Good Post, Spike.

    Even at HK$8,000 per piece here, there are still plenty of local takers who want to be able to show off an iPad here before most others. That’s Hong Kong for you!

  2. Richard

    They were $6K this week (16GB) in the Mongkok Phone Centre (handily next to work). Maybe they’ve shot up in price? I am considering a 64Gb version – travel a lot and they look awesome.

  3. Lanta

    I`d take a guess that the lawers have wrapped this up tight. You`d only have the rights to use the O/S etc, you never own it ever.

    As for the iPad itself, is it useful. It seems to be niched between gadgets and not really good at any.

  4. Phil

    This is the comment I left on gizmodo:


    Illegal? How illegal? Someone buys something and sells it second hand. There is nothing illegal about that whatsoever. There are no laws about selling something you own (are you going to say it is illegal to buy a second hand computer next?) and there are no laws about what price you can sell something you own at. In fact this is third hand. Individual buys, shop buys, someone buys from the shop.

    If that is illegal then you have just declared every second hand shop illegal.

    There is absolutely nothing illegal about this whatsoever.

    Did it occur to you to seek comment from a legal expert to back up your choice of words? Probably not. That is something a journalist would do.


    currently in moderation – we will see….

  5. Geoff

    If people are crazy enough to pay double just for the privilege of having one of the first ipads in HK, then I say Good Luck to the seller….

  6. Phil

    Geoff – exactly – it is a free market – and this is a classic case of supply and demand determining pricing.

  7. Dimple

    Hiya can I check if this company is reliable and did they send the ipad to you. Plus how does a customer pay for this? Via credit card? Thanks

    1. Spike Post author

      I got my iPad via other means but I have used in the past and found them to be reliable. You should check out their web site, which provides a lot of details about their services. They can consolidate multiple shipments into one and also (for an extra fee) supply you with a US credit card number if the site you’re buying from requires that.

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