Even as top US technology companies have either moved out their complete business or are busy winding up operations in Russia, US tech major Apple has announced to launch the new Apple iPhone 14 in Russia despite all odds.
The US tech company earlier blamed Moscow’s parallel import scheme for moving out complete operations. Russia announced the scheme in March when it authorised retailers to import products from abroad without the trademark owner’s permission.
Asked whether the new iPhone, unveiled by Apple on Wednesday, would be imported under the scheme, Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov said: “Why not? If consumers want to buy these phones, yes. There will be the opportunity.”
Apple halted new product sales in Russia in March, a week after Russia invaded Ukraine, though the iPhone, MacBook and other Apple goods have remained available in Russian stores as retailers sell down their remaining stock of old models and get hold of newly released devices through the import scheme.
Russian mobile network MTS on Thursday morning was already selling the new iPhone 14 models on pre-order. Prices start from 84,990 roubles ($1,398) for the 128GB version.
MTS said delivery could take up to 120 days and it retained the right to cancel orders if it faced difficulties importing the products.
Manturov, who is also Russian deputy prime minister, said last month that the scheme, which covers Western products ranging from luxury clothes to cars, could reach $16 billion in value this year, equivalent to around 4% of Russia’s 2021 imports.