Would you like to pre-order the iPhone 5 right now? The large Chinese-based e-commerce site Taobao is now taking people's money to order the next iOS smartphone from Apple. The only problem is that Apple has yet to even announce the device, let alone accept pre-orders.
Reuters reports that the site has offers from some sellers asking for a $160 deposit for the iPhone 5, with one seller asking for a full upfront payment of $1,100. The apparent plan for these sellers is to purchase the iPhone 5 in Hong Kong and then sell it in China.
It seems pretty clear that these "sellers" have absolutely no connection to Apple and that these iPhone 5 "pre-orders" could be a massive scam designed simply to take money from unsuspecting users and giving them nothing in return. One of these sellers even posted a list of 17 "possible" iPhone 5 features.
This kind of activity shows how much demand there is for iPhones, or indeed for any Apple product, in mainland China. So far, Apple only has five official retail stores in the country, with plans to open two more stores in the near future. As we have reported before, there have been attempts by people in China to create Apple stores that are not authorized by the company.