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Unauthorized Apple iPhones available in China at double the U.S. cost

September 05, 2007|From the Associated Press

BEIJING — The iPhone can be bought in China, even though Apple Inc. isn't selling it there, and the gadget doesn't function properly despite costing twice as much as in the United States.

Enthusiasts willing to pay 8,800 yuan -- $1,170 -- can buy the phone at electronics markets in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the electronics newspaper Dian Nao Bao reported in its Monday editions.

In the U.S., the combination cellphone-iPod media player can be had for $499. The Chinese version can make calls and send text messages, but it can't receive calls. The voice-mail function also doesn't work.

Apple is currently selling the iPhone only in the U.S., where it's restricted to AT&T Inc.'s cellular network. Last month hackers were successful in unlocking the device so that it could be used on other carriers.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said that the company was not aware of specific reports of its phones being sold in China and that the sales were not authorized.

"We said we would launch the iPhone in Asia in 2008," she said. "This is not that launch."

China has the world's largest number of mobile phone users, and the market is expected to grow rapidly in coming years as incomes rise.

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