Sellers on Taobao, a unit of Alibaba Group, are accepting orders for the iPhone 5, in some cases asking for a deposit of 1,000 yuan ($160) for the new phone. One seller, "Dahai99888", who started accepting pre-orders this week, is asking for full payment upfront, at a cool 6,999 yuan ($1,100).
The sellers plan to buy the device in Hong Kong or the United States when it is released then bring it back to mainland China. One seller says they already have two dozen orders and 'demand is high'.
Cases for the unreleased device are also being sold on Alibaba.com. One seller "guaranteed" Reuters that the cases were accurate, saying the company's boss received the dimensions from "certain channels". While information obtained by case manufacturers used to be a good indicator of what Apple was planning to release, last year Apple decided not to release a new design that was leaked to case manufacturers and instead stuck with the same design for the iPhone 4S.
Apple is expected to release its next generation iPhone in September/October.