Two Chinese B2C e-commerce sites, Amazon China and Suning.com (SHE:002024), have removed the iPad from sale in an apparent move to avoid implication in the Apple versus Proview legal battle over the use of the iPad name in mainland China. Today, a search for ‘iPad’ or ‘iPad 2’ or any relevant permutation yields results only for accessories for (or rivals of) Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iconic tablet on both those sites (pictured above).
Just two days ago, an Apple reseller in a city in central China was raided by authorities and had 45 iPad 2 units seized as a part of the ongoing investigation into Proview’s (HKG:0334) claim.
The Chinese site QQ Tech has two screenshots of an iPad 2 listed on both Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) China and Suning, but with consumers unable to buy the item. Note that Amazon has removed the price and ‘buy’ button, while on Suning the checkout icon is greyed-out and the price was also missing:
After a number of searches, we cannot find those same listings (and thereby truly verify the authenticity of the screenshots), and indeed cannot find any iPad models for sale on either of those two sites.
Suning and Amazon China are relatively minor players in the B2C e-commerce space in China. The market leaders, Alibaba’s Tmall.com, and 360buy, still have iPads for sale (see here and here), as does Dangdang (NYSE:DANG), one of China’s earliest consumer electronics online retailers.
Though the Apple-Proview litigation isn’t near a blanket ban on iPad sales in the country, it remains a possibility as that is one move that could be made by the federal Administration of Industry and Commerce (AIC). Proview – which is from Taiwan but has a mainland HQ in Shenzhen – might even make a filing to prevent iPads that are assembled in China from being exported. It’s now up to Apple to foresee what move Proview might make and get itself some time to respond from the AIC.
We’ll keep you updated if any further e-commerce sites also quit selling the iPad.
[Source: QQ Tech news – article in Chinese]