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March 29, 2021

Apple cracking down big on scalpers in China

If there are any laws in life less clear than those on scalping, please, share them now.

Indeed, the confounding legal complexity of the second-hand game must be most prevalent among sports and concert tickets, the selling of which we know must be against the rules – some kind of rules, at least – yet here they are, being sold out front of stadiums and arenas with cops in plain sight.

Are there not enough police resources to crack down? Are scalpers not a priority? Is scalping totally legal, so long as tickets aren’t sold for more than face value?

Whatever. It probably doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but one major company isn’t taking such a passive attitude to scalping. In China, where it once cost the tech maker plenty, Apple has cracked down big on street sellers of its goods.

By now, everyone has heard about those fake Apple stores in China, though while those were a (spectacular) outlier, the constant in the Asian nation has been the hawking of illicit Apple goods, real items sold for a premium outside traditional retail outlets.

*Bing: How to spot a fake iPhone

Despite manufacturing much of its goods in the country, Apple hasn’t been a big presence in the commercial landscape in China, but it is growing, boosting its revenue there to $13 billion last year compared to just $3 billion in 2010.

special report in the L.A. Times, however, notes that scalpers were a big problem before last year, flooding Apple stores, buying up as many gadgets as they could and then selling them for a steep profit on the streets. An iPhone 4S last November, it’s been reported, could have fetched as much as $2,000.

Now, though, since Apple retailers began limiting the number of devices shoppers can buy to two each, domestic scalpers have lost their products, relying on big shipments coming in from Hong Kong to sell on the streets.

Because of the crackdown, the estimated number of crooked iPhones sold in China declined from four million in 2010 to about two million last year.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...