At it again: Sellers in China offer iPhone 5 preorders

Opportunistic vendors on China's Taobao e-commerce service are selling preorders for Apple's iPhone 5 that range from a $160 deposit to a full, $1,100 payment for the device.

Last year's "HiPhone 5" sale on Taobao.
Last year's "HiPhone 5" sale on Taobao. Taobao

China's Taobao e-commerce platform is home to a host of preorder opportunities for an Apple smartphone that might not even exist.

According to Reuters, several sellers on Taobao are offering preorders for Apple's long-rumored iPhone 5. One of the sellers, Reuters says, is currently accepting preorders for 1,000 yuan ($160). Another seller says that the only way to be guaranteed to get the iPhone 5 at launch will be to pay in full -- 6,999 yuan ($1,100) -- up front.

China and Taobao have long been home to sellers attempting to take advantage of the iPhone's popularity. Back in August, when the world believed Apple would launch the iPhone 5 and not the iPhone 4S, sellers on Taobao were offering up the "HiPhone 5," a copycat device designed to capitalize on all the excitement surrounding the handset.

In order to get consumers to place preorders for the iPhone 5, sellers are listing the device's specifications and showing mock-up images, according to Reuters. It's a rather interesting move, considering Apple has not confirmed that the iPhone 5 exists, let alone shown off its features or design.

Still, customers are buying the preorders at a surprisingly rapid clip. According to Reuters, one seller has already received more than 24 orders and nabbed two purchases in one day earlier this week.

Apple has so far been silent on what its plans might be for its smartphone. However, the rumor mill suggests the iPhone 5 could come with a 4-inch screen, 4G LTE support, and a host of other additions.

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