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Illegal Intermediates in the iPhone 6 Market

The iPhone 6 was finally released for sale in the United States this past week. As expected, thousands of people lined up on the streets in order to have the chance to be the first to own the newest release from Apple. Most are purchasing the phone for themselves or for family members, but it seems that others have ulterior motives to purchasing the new iPhone right on the day of its release. In this article, it has been described and shown that some dedicated line-waiters only purchased the phone so that they could immediately resell it for a significantly higher price, taking advantage of the high demand for the phone. This is especially relevant for those who are planning to sell the phones in China, as the iPhone 6 is not expected to be released in that country for another several months. According to this article, the iPhone 6 can go for upwards of $3000 there.

This “Black Market Nightmare” is an example of an intermediate in a market gone wrong. If you consider the market of phones to be a bipartite graph (with phones on the left and buyers on the right), at this very moment, many buyers have a strong preference for the new iPhone, and as a result are willing to pay significant amounts of money for it. Knowing this, those that are trying to sell the iPhone 6 on the black market are charging unnecessarily high prices, and are taking advantage of the fact that there are few intermediates (or middlemen) currently working in this particular market between the United States and China. Thus the skyrocketing prices for the secondhand iPhones and the distress of the police and media.


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