Buy an unlocked iPhone in Hong Kong?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by spriter, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. spriter macrumors 65816


    May 13, 2004
    Hey guys,

    I'll be in Hong Kong next week and am wondering about the possibility of picking up a nice, preferably 8GB, unlocked iPhone whilst I'm there.

    Originally I was going to get myself a new mobile phone, then the Touch got released and I figured I can get one in HK too as they're much cheaper than the UK. Then, in a somewhat 'eureka' moment, :eek: I realised an iPhone would consolidate these two into one and is perfect. :D

    I've done a quick search online and I've seen reports of them (iPhones) being available over there. I've not been before and would like some advice on where best to find one that's not going to break on me within a week.

    FWIW, speaking of prices, I checked the cost of a the Touch in Beijing and it's running 2700RMB (RMB) or 3600RMB (16GB) - around UK prices. Unless you go to FAB where they're asking 4880RMB (650USD) for one!

    When I get back to the UK, I'd want to use the iPhone on O2 I guess, without the forced contract. Prior to that, I've a Chinese pre-pay SIM and International pre-pay SIM to use.

    So, help me people!
  2. y0zza macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2005
    You'll find iPhones at Wanchai computer centre.

    Just head to Wanchai on the MTR, and turn left as you exit the station from exit A4. You'll see a colourful building with a McDonalds sign on it.

    If you're heading to Beijing, you'll also find iPhones in Zhongguancun. The prices there will be comparable with those in HK, possibly even slightly cheaper if you shop around and really haggle.

    I wouldn't expect prices that much cheaper than the UK price though.
  3. feyn-man macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    How much will it be then? thanks
  4. spriter thread starter macrumors 65816


    May 13, 2004
    Alright, thanks y0zza.

    I'm actually in Beijing now (going to HK next week) but didn't spot an iPhone yet. Then again, I haven't been to Zhongguancun so maybe I will pay a visit. I've been here long enough so I can haggle with the best of them :D

    The only stores selling genuine Apple gear here were in Oriental Plaza Mall in Wangfujing. Even so, the D&G Lifestyle store quickly sold out of the Touch (2700/3600RMB) and the only place left was the Sony/Apple reseller near the mall entrance, which were the rip-off price I mentioned earlier. Unsurprisingly, they had plenty of Touch left.

  5. y0zza macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2005
    Can't say for sure about the price now, as I'm in the UK now :p

    When I was in HK over the summer, the lowest price was 7800 HKD. Four days later (just after the US price cut), the best price I found in Beijing was 6000 RMB. Another four/five days after that, it was 5100 RMB. The 5100 RMB was after haggling the price down from 6000 RMB. Similarly, 6000 RMB was after a starting price of 6500 RMB plus another 500 RMB for software unlocking.

    Just gives you an idea of the amount of give there is in the price.

    Anyway, I suspect you should be able to get one for around 4000-4500 RMB now (8GB, of course). 4GB seems to be going for 3500-4000 RMB. See here for a price list from various retailers at Zhongguancun.

    Zongguancun will definitely be cheaper than Wangfujing. All the electronics there are at rip-off prices, and you can't even haggle easily/much.

    I'm not sure what the price 'on the street' is right now, but a quick check of suggests around 3500 RMB for the 16GB and 2550 RMB for the 8GB. Bear in mind you can probably haggle a bit off the prices shown on the website too.
  6. nikiski macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2007
    Hong Kong, or Surrey, BC, Canada
    Hey there, I work in Wan Chai and thus I was able to check the prices during lunch (on Thursday). It was about 4,900 Hong Kong dollars... Good luck picking one up! ;)
  7. shanghai07 macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2007

    I just checked the prices here in Shanghai. 4000RMB without haggling. So I guess one could get them even a bit cheaper. (8Gb and unlocked of course)

    In the computer mall near people Square (in the intersection area of: Huaihaizhong Road, Huangpinan Road, Jinlingxi Road, Madang Road)

    Good luck with finding a good deal.
  8. sbates130272 macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    Limitations of iPhone in HK

    Hi There

    I am in HK right now and getting quotes for about 4900 HKD in Wanchai and 4000 HKD in TST (I am avoiding TST for tourist trap issues). I am interested in buying the iPhone but does anyone know what limitations it has?


  9. nikiski macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2007
    Hong Kong, or Surrey, BC, Canada
    I think the two most important limitations are that you can't upgrade your firmware and that visual voice mail won't work.
  10. sbates130272 macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    Thanks nikiski. Is there a particular shop in Wan Chai you'd recommend I buy the iPhone from? Do any of them offer any kind of warranty/guarentee or I am out of luck if the phone breaks?

  11. rttp macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2008
    I'm looking for iphone 3G in HK as well. Do you have any recommendation about the shop that I can buy the real iphone in Wanchai? I've heard that there is fake iphone which look very similar to the real iphone, so just want to make sure that I pay for the real one.
  12. odaiwai macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2006
    Hong Kong
    3G iPhones can be bought from the 3 network with a contract, or you can buy them unlocked from the Hong Kong Online store. (
  13. donga macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2005
    anyone else think some hong kong capitalists are gonna be making some money soon?
  14. r33mryu macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2008
  15. okiiii macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    I dont think u should by in hk if for me i will buy from usa more cheaper like this store
  16. Pixellated macrumors 65816

    Apr 1, 2008
  17. nikiski macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2007
    Hong Kong, or Surrey, BC, Canada

    But I wouldn't mind helping fellow MacRumorer(?) though. :)
  18. Airforcekid macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    tryed it

    It still wanted to activate with att even though it was the hong kong version maybe if you download the hong kong version of itunes it might work.:apple:
  19. jdwingnut macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2008
    In the Redwoods, California
    Can someone please explain why you would want to purchase an iPhone from Hong Kong (unlocked or not) instead of from where you live.
  20. nikiski macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2007
    Hong Kong, or Surrey, BC, Canada
    There's no Hong Kong version of iTunes. Everyone uses the same version. I think you just need a SIM from Hong Kong. :)
  21. f1 macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2007
    Also please beware of Apple's policy on servicing iPhones. Apple will only service the iPhone in the country that it was purchased in. If you get an iPhone from Hong Kong and take it to the UK for use, and run into problems you will have to bring it back to Hong Kong for service. No amount of b*tching to customer relations will get you any exceptions on this policy.
  22. boogworm macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2009
    How come you cannot upgrade the firmware? I do not mean to be obtuse, but what are the ramifications of doing so?
  23. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    You can buy the iPhone unlocked from 3 Mobile.

    And I believe the cheapest place to buy an unlocked iPhone is Australia. ;) Optus Mobile sells them for around $1050 AUD unlocked, but I don't know how much that is in GBP.

    Also, I think you should check the 3G frequencies used in HK as opposed to the UK. I'm quite sure it's not a problem, but believe it to be a problem if you take it to North America.
  24. scottdk macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2009
    Considering passing through HK in a couple of weeks. Any locals know if I can walk into a phone shop and buy an unlocked 16Gb iPhone off the shelf? Or do I need to order from iTunes store and have delivered to a HK address?
  25. mmulin macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2006
    Firmware upgrade depends whether it is the original factory HK unlocked phone or an imported locked phone which has been unlocked by other means. Of course the factory unlocked phone is upgradeable w/o problems. I have one myself. VVM support depends entirely on the carrier and your subscription with them. Generally, you won't be lucky..

    Officially you can get the factory unlocked iPhones only in the HK Apple online store. How many of those found their way onto the street, I don't know. I would be a bit careful. You might end up with a software unlocked, or in worst case scenario, hardware hacked (aka TurboSIM) iPhone. It might be (a lot) cheaper but you surely will get problems with future firmware upgrades.

    Be reminded to buy at the HK online store you need HK address & HK credit card. Off the shelf is not officially ( which is a give and take thing in HK ;) ) available. Check my previous post..

    Because I want to use my existing contract but want an iPhone, or I want to be able to swap to local SIMs when in a foreign country, or because I don't like being locked down with a specific contract for years just to use a phone I like, or.. because I can ;)

    The HK unlocked version you can activate anywhere. At least I did so with mine in NL & Japan. Don't need HK SIM for that. In general, buying the official HK unlocked iPhone is like buying any other unlocked phone.

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