When Apple announced the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c last month, everyone wondered just what sort of split the company planned on selling. Would they sell two 5c units for every 5s? Would it be one for one? We’ll never really know the real figure, but what we do know is that it’s damn near impossible to find an iPhone 5s right now, while it’s a walk in the park to find an iPhone 5c. According to MacRumors, this is just one of the reasons that Apple is cutting iPhone 5c production from 300,000 units per day to 150,000 units.
The other reason is a bit more … sleazy. There’s something known as the gray market that most Americans aren’t familiar with. You see, different countries tax items differently. An iPhone 5c can be sold in Norway for $800, while the exact same phone would go for $485 in Hong Kong. This imbalance causes people to do funny things, like buy a bunch of iPhones from one country and then sell them in another.
According to data found by Unwired View, it looks like the iPhone 5c can be purchased in China for as much as 30% less than what Apple sells the iPhone 5c for via official channels. And there are so many of these gray market imports that people prefer buying them instead of going to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.
Now this isn’t just an Apple problem, this is a problem for the entire industry. It’s why Samsung got into a whole lot of heat a few weeks ago when it was discovered they were region locking the new Galaxy Note 3. If you bought that phone in Europe, you had to first activate it with a SIM card from Europe, otherwise your phone would lock itself until you took it to a service center.
Apple isn’t that barbaric, of course, but who knows, that might change next year.