China granted regulatory approval to Apple for its new iPad last week, which indicates the company plans to formally release the device in that country.
The China Quality Certification Center gave the tablet China Compulsory Certification, which afforded the mandatory stamp that Apple required to sell the product in that country.
Historically, Apple launched its products weeks or months after releasing them in the U.S., but grey and black market vendors are still able to smuggle the devices in, and mark up the prices. Apple knockoffs and counterfeit products also exist, with one vendor recently being stabbed over a fake iPhone.
Another obstacle Apple has faced with its iPad in China is trademark infringement. Chinese firm Proview claims to have owned the iPad name since 2001, and has filed dozens of lawsuits, in attempts to block all iPad sales. A high court Guangzhou, China, is currently reviewing the Proview case.
Also, iPad 3G versions will require additional Chinese regulatory approval for a network access permit - but even if Apple goes through all of China's formal hoops, the government can still step in over the Proview issue, according to Sun Peilin, an analyst with Beijing-based research firm Analysys International.
Still, Canalys analyst Pin-Chen Tang points out that iPads are still being sold through official channels in China regardless - the new iPad took a 69.3% share on the market in Q4, 2011.