Chinese customs authorities have detained 14 suspects in connection with a smuggling case that involved about 400 million yuan (US$63.5 million) worth of photographic and video equipment. Officers at Gongbei Customs, Zhuhai City, south China’s Guangdong Province, said the smuggling ring has already transported more than 60,000 cameras from Hong Kong to Guangdong from January 2011 to February 15, 2012. They have also smuggled 13,623 professional and consumer lenses, 483 flashlight and 1,025 video cameras …
Smugglers have organized to take cameras from Hong Kong to Macau first, then they hired local drivers to bring the goods into China through Gongbei entry port. While all item arrived and collected at Zhuhai city, the goods will be transported to clients in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai. The case is now under further investigation. From the pictures we can see there are lots of Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras and professional lenes, it seems that Canon EOS 5D Mk II, 600D and superzoom model are popular smuggling items. Canon 5D Mk II has some great discount recently over at Hong Kong retail. You can buy a 5D Mk II (body) at the price of HKD$14,400 (US$1,854) in Hong Kong right now, while Canon is official selling it for $15,249 yuan (US$2,418) in China. After currency exchange, it is much cheaper to buy it in Hong Kong, or from the retail’s grey market in China.
Grey-market goods can refer to “legal goods” which are sold outside normal distribution channels by companies which may have no relationship with the producer of the goods. Frequently this form of parallel import occurs when the price of an item is significantly higher in one country than another. This situation commonly occurs with photographic equipment. Camera and lenses in China are selling about 20 to 30 percent more expensive than Hong Kong. Operators buy the product in Hong Kong where it is available cheaply and import it to China market. They will usually import the goods illegally to avoid custom tax, then sell it in China at a price under the normal market price, but still enough to provide a reasonable profit.
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