On March 13th a man was discovered smuggling 146 IPhones from Hong Kong into mainland China. In financial terms, he was carrying anywhere from US$76,000 to US$181,000 in product (depending on which models and options he had).
Chan Shih, 30, was spotted walking “at a really slow pace with a strangely stiffened back” while carrying only a small shoulder bag March 6 Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province. Officers had the man walk through a metal detector, and he was taken for a search when the device indicated the presence of metallic objects on his body. The man was found to have 126 iPhones strapped around his waist in a belt-like formation and another 20 devices were found strapped to his legs. As border officers said, smugglers usually attempt to sell IPhones they bought in Hong Kong, without paying any sales taxes, at a profit in the mainland.
Although most IPhones in China are sold legally, the black market for IPhones is a very lively one. According to sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech a quarter of all smartphones sold in China are IPhones, however, a majority of cellphone users in China have yet to make the transition from feature phones to smartphones. This is where smugglers come in, allowing consumers to buy IPhones at a discounted price and making Apple the largest player in the Chinese smartphone market.
Source 1: http://www.malaysiandigest.com/technology/545769-this-is-how-your-gray-market-iphones-get-into-china.html
Source 2: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/peoplesdaily/article-2993444/Smuggler-caught-astonishing-146-iPhones-taped-body-trying-convince-customs-officers-gold-BRACELET-set-metal-detectors.html
Source 3: http://www.cultofmac.com/314096/quarter-smartphones-sold-china-iphones/