The grey market for iPhones in China is no secret, with thousands of the devices smuggled from places like Hong Kong and the U.S. back into Mainland China for sale by scalpers. Today, Reuters reported that 26 suppliers of one of China’s largest online grey market iPhone dealers, Lanyou Shuma.com, are currently on trial in a Shenzhen court. According to local reports, many of the suppliers accused in the case are “described as housewives who frequently travel to Hong Kong.” Citing various local newspapers, Reuters said the housewives were usually paid 20 Yuan to 30 Yuan for each phone smuggled back to China, with 25 of the defendants accused of smuggling both iPads and iPhones:
On Wednesday, 26 suppliers of Lanyou Shuma.com were tried in a Shenzhen court as part of five rings that smuggled more than 162,000 mobile phones worth over 500 million yuan ($80 million) from Hong Kong over the past two years, the Beijing News said.
Half of the suspects are described as housewives who frequently travel to Hong Kong, according to another newspaper, the Southern Metropolis Daily, adding that they were paid 20 to 30 yuan in commission for each phone they brought back to the mainland
The Lanyou Shuma.com digital store, once one of the largest on China’s Taobao Marketplace, was forced to close in April by Taobao after Hong Kong authorities launched an investigation on possible smuggling of the iPhone 4S, the Beijing News said.