Carrying iphones & ipads into China

I was crossing the border to Shenzhen from Hong Kong at Huanggang the other day, and was standing behind the customs area, waiting for friends. A foreigner was walking through the customs carrying with him a box, the package of which suggests that it contained an ipad. He was stopped by the customs officers and it was obvious that he ran into trouble by carrying the gadget with him. He seemed to be arguing with the officers and gradually lost temper. No doubt he was requested to give tax on his ipad.

I later read reports that people carrying iphones 4 or ipads into China will be taxed RMB 1,000 (value estimated to be RMB 5,000 so 20% tax is RMB 1,000 ). Any items, valued over RMB 5,000, even if they are for self-use, have to be taxed, according to the reports. If you don’t want to be taxed, you can place the items with the customs and take them back when you leave China. But then you may need to pay a custody fee as well.

The latest news is that Chinese Customs has publicly defened its practice, saying that a tax of RMB 1000 on ipads is justified, which is in accordance with WTO rules and international practice. So be prepared to be taxed if you an ipad or a new iphone into China.

4 Replies to “Carrying iphones & ipads into China”

  1. Anna,

    I seriously question the taxes chinese customs decide to start enforcing laws laid down years ago…it is probably someone need to be paid off….the limits for non-chinese residents (i.e. no return home cards) are 2k HKD which any cell phone or electronics (including digital cameras) would trigger.

    Recently I heard the chinese customs backing off the custom charges. Until I see clear signs from people on the ground that Chinese customs undo the crummy policy, I would have a hard time believing anything the CCP saids.

    Happy CNY…

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  3. I don’t think this is a new trend. i think they eye iphones and ipads in particular because there has been serious privacy of the gadgets of recent. on the other hand, if you carry objects of value, they can be taxed by Chinese customs – no firm rules here.

  4. Hi Anna
    Is this a new trend that Chinese Customs will start collecting tax on objects of value?? It seems that just about anything can be taxed, including my mobile phone.

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