Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has always had issues with iPhones being sold on the gray market in China — not a big surprise given that its gadgets tend to come out months late over here. For that reason, sales of the things are usually limited to one or two per person, especially when they’ve just come out. But apparently the iPhone 4S is old enough news in China now that Apple has seen fit to raise the per-person purchase limit from two to 840. Phone scalpers, eat your hearts out.
At the same time, Apple has cut down the estimated shipping time for the devices on its China website, from 3-5 days to 1-3 days.
The move has been interpreted a number of different ways, although no one is quite sure what Apple’s up to. Some suggest this is preparation for the iPhone 5. Others think Apple is overstocked and trying to pass the hassle onto gray market dealers. By supplying them with product, the move actually hurts many gray market dealers by driving prices down. The market price of a gray market Hong Kong 4S, for example, has apparently dropped around 500 RMB ($79) over the past few days.
I won’t pretend to have any idea what’s really going on here, but I do know this: if you want to buy more than two (but less than 841) iPhone 4Ss in China, today is your lucky day.
[Via Sina Tech]