Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Apple begins selling iPad 2 3G in China

Apple on Wednesday began selling 3G versions of the iPad 2 in China, ahead of high-profile retail store launches in Shanghai and Hong Kong later this week.

Apple's localized online store is now offering 16GB, 32GB and 64GB 3G-capable models for 4688CNY ($734), 5488CNY ($860) and 6388CNY ($985), respectively. The prices come in at more than a $100 premium from the U.S. prices, though it should be noted that China's hefty import tariff has already been bundled into the retail price.

The Cupertino, Calif., company announced the move on Tuesday, according to the The Wall Street Journal. A spokesman told the publication that the iPad 2 3G will also be available in retail stores and from authorized resellers.

3G service will be provided by China Unicom, Apple's current partner for the iPhone in the country. Though the carrier has yet to begin selling the iPad, for over a year, it has offered iPad plans to customers who import the device on their own or purchase it on the unofficial grey market.

In July, it was reported that China Unicom executives were planning a trip to the U.S. to discuss plans for the 3G iPad 2 ahead of the finalized regulatory certification of the device.

Apple now selling iPad 2 3G in China.

Apple is set to continue its highly-focused retail expansion in the country on Friday when it opens its fifth store in Mainland China in Shanghai at Nanjing East. The Greater China region will also see a boost as Apple has confirmed it will open its massive flagship Hong Kong store at the IFC Mall on Saturday.

The Nanjing Road store will be Apple's largest retail location in China. Apple currently operates two other stores in Shanghai and two in Beijing. The company has revealed plans to reach a total of 25 stores in the country within the next few years.

Nanjing Road Apple Store
Upcoming Apple Store on Nanjing Road in Shanghai | Credit: MIC Gadget.

The iPad 2 has been an instant success in the world's most populous nation. The launch of the device in early May drew a sell-out crowd, quickly stoking a secondary market of highly-organized scalpers. The day after the iPad 2 launch in China, fierce demand for Apple's second-generation tablet and white iPhone led to an altercation outside the store that resulted in a shattered glass door and at least four injured persons.

China iPad 2 launch
Launch day line for the iPad 2 at Apple's flagship Sanlitun store in Beijing.

According to J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, Apple will introduce an "iPhone 4-plus" specifically aimed at making inroads into the Chinese pre-paid mobile market alongside the new iPhone 5 this fall. On Monday, he suggested in a note to investors that the current iPhone 4 will replace the 3GS as the lower-end offering, with the "plus" version focusing on the midrange.

After bringing its focus to bear on the Chinese market, Apple has seen impressive results. In the second quarter of calendar 2011, the company noted a six-fold increase in revenue in Greater China year over year to $3.8 billion.

"This has been a substantial opportunity for Apple, and I firmly believe we are just scratching the surface right now," then Chief Operations Officer Tim Cook said. "I believe there is an incredible opportunity for Apple there."