The AFP reports that the Chinese are sick of being last in the gadget-availability game, and go to great lengths to import high-tech items from the U.S. It's a curious situation, given that they make much of it in the first place.
Plans to introduce the [iPhone] are conspicuously more advanced in West Africa than in China, the world's largest mobile phone market, with more than 600 million cellphone users. ... In the meantime, Chinese consumers are not waiting for Jobs. The country is widely considered the world's biggest market for smuggled, "unlocked" and counterfeited iPhones. More than 500,000 first-edition iPhones made their way to China, or nearly a tenth of the phone's global shipments of 5.2 million from June 2007 through March 2008, according to estimates from In-Stat. Some estimates indicate 40 percent of all "unlocked" iPhones are in China.It's just like how the British import back their own spotted dick from the Moon. So ironic. Chinese don't wait for Apple launch to get iPhone [AFP]