On iPhone Exchange Rate and Tax Arbitrage: In which country can you buy the least expensive iPhone?

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ARBITRAGEURS REJOICE - Due to exchange rate and tax differences, the effective cost of your favorite gadget can vary from country to country, so if you’re looking to buy yourself or a loved one an iPhone or other similar item during your Christmas vacation, here the most attractive ‘iPhone tourism’ sites. Read on to find out more.

TJ Palanca https://www.twitter.com/tjpalanca
12-05-2013
iPhones and iPads are all set to be the top gifted items during the Christmas season. (Photo: <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/janitors/10576047413/sizes/l/'>Janitors/Flickr</a>, <a href='http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>

Figure 1: iPhones and iPads are all set to be the top gifted items during the Christmas season. (Photo: Janitors/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

ARBITRAGEURS REJOICE - Due to exchange rate and tax differences, the effective cost of your favorite gadget can vary from country to country, so if you’re looking to buy yourself or a loved one an iPhone or other similar item during your Christmas vacation, here the most attractive ‘iPhone tourism’ sites. Read on to find out more.

It’s common for Filipinos to ask favors relatives from abroad, or go abroad themselves, in order to buy them big-ticket items such as gadgets and jewelry, because it’s relatively cheaper and no ‘taxes’ have to be paid. iPhones are among the most commonly requested items, partly because of the carrier-locked nature of those sold locally and partly because the foreign currency prices are much cheaper.

These differences in prices are to be expected, of course, because Apple cannot adjust its own prices in pace with fluctuations in both currency exchange rates and tax (sales tax, VAT) rates. The difficult question, however, is where we can most take advantage of this opportunity, or where the largest iPhone arbitrage opportunity exists. In other words, where in the world can I find the cheapest factory-unlocked iPhone?

iPhone Arbitrage

Luckily, the folks over at Mobile Unlocked have done the dirty data gathering for us, and we can determine the relative after-tax prices of iPhones around the world converted to Philippine pesos. The results of their study are summarized in the following chart: