While we’re still trying to make sense of all the rumors floating around regarding the highly anticipated iPhone 5, some enterprising sellers in China have already begun accepting pre-orders on a phone that has yet to have an official specs description or even a release date.
According to a report from Reuters, the vendors are using Taobao, a popular e-commerce platform in China that is part of the Alibaba group, to start accepting pre-orders from eager Chinese fans. The vendors are using mock-up pictures and rumored specifications to showcase and describe the iPhone 5 in their ads:
“One enterprising seller posted a list of 17 possible new iPhone 5 features and gave a percentage probability that they would be included in the new device. For example, bio-metric capability has a 20 percent chance of being a feature on the iPhone 5, according to this seller.”
Some sellers are asking for an initial deposit of approximately $160 while others, such as a seller named “Dahai99888” is asking for “full payment upfront, at a cool 6,999 yuan ($1,100).”
“Demand is high, yesterday someone just bought two phones. Altogether we have about two dozen orders,” shares one seller who goes by the name “Xiaoyu.”
Reuters spoke with some of these sellers and they have shared that their plan is to buy the iPhone 5 directly from the US or from Hong Kong and then bring them to mainland China. Hong Kong, perhaps owing to its very “international” nature, normally gets Apple products ahead of the mainland.
“It’s not so easy to bring the phones from overseas, there’s a limit to how many you can carry in … If we could bring in a few thousand that will be great,” said Xiaoyu.
The sellers, however, could not specify a delivery time to their customers. This is not entirely surprising considering that Apple has yet to officially announce a launch date for the iPhone 5.