Chinese online merchants are already reselling Google Glasses in China for more than twice the $1,500 retail price after snapping them up from customers who were hand-selected for Google’s Explorer program.
While Google gained international publicity for its one-day online sale of the wearable computers Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reports that dozens of units — “many of which seem to be real” — already are being offered for sale on Alibaba’s online Taobao marketplace and on eBay.
The Journal compares the current offerings of Google Glass to the previous efforts by Chinese merchants to sell the Apple iPhone at inflated prices before they were widely available in China.
Taobao merchants told the Journal they didn’t bother trying to buy Google Glasses through Google’s Tuesday sale because they already had enough inventory.
The merchants presumably got access to the units by buying the “codes” of people already enrolled in Google’s Explorer program, which allows the Chinese merchants to deal directly with Google.
The merchants mark up the $1,500 units to as much as $1,950 to $3,252, according to the Journal.
A merchant named Xu Wei told the Journal that since January he’s been averaging one to two Google Glass sales per day on Taobao. But the demand jumped to five or six sales per day in April.
Despite consumer worries that Google Glass might not even work behind China’s so-called “Great Firewall” — or that the Google Glass operating system won’t support the Chinese language — Xu said some of his customers have bought two or three units at the same time.
An attendee at the Google I/O developer conference in May tests Google Glass. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.