Apple 2.0

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Apple's iPad mini fetching $480 in Chinese gray market

November 3, 2012: 6:40 AM ET

Supplies are tight, say Shanghai scalpers, but should ease in a week or so

FORTUNE -- "iPad mini price fry the 3000 yuan cattle worried not sell."

That, according to Google Translate, is the headline in The Phoenix, a Chinese language website that covers the Asian tech market.

The thrust of the story is that although the Apple (AAPL) store in Hong Kong is selling 16GB iPad minis for HK$ 2588 ($334), the 7.9-inch tablets are in such short supply on mainland China that scalpers on Friday were getting anywhere from  2800 yuan to 3300 yuan ($450-$530) for the same device.

The first batch of iPad minis appeared in Shanghai Friday afternoon, but most dealers in the "parallel market" didn't have them yet. "It is estimated to have to wait a week to two weeks," one told The Phoenix's reporter.

Prices are expected to fall to 2600 ($416) within a day or two.

The Phoenix piece, as filtered through Google's statistical analysis engine, makes several references to "fruit powder." AAPL Sanity's x_trapnel explains:

Google hilariously mistranslates the colloquial term "果粉" = "Apple fans" as "fruit powder".  The problem is that 果粉 is a cute abbreviation for 苹果 (pingguo = Apple) 粉丝 (fensi = sound like "fans"), Google can handle the full 苹果粉丝 but not the shortened 果粉, and so goes for a literal translation of "fruit powder" :)

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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