One of the countries yet to see Apple's iPad hit local stores is Taiwan, the home of many of the company's rival tablet manufacturers. Certainly, it's an area that Steve Jobs and co would like to see their product thrive.

However, there's one major sticking point as to why Apple can't release its device in the country, it doesn't currently support the local writing system.

While the iPad is compatible with the "simplified Chinese character" system adopted by China, it can't make head nor tail of "complex Chinese". So, unless that comes along as part of iOS 4.2 in November, there won't be much Taiwanese demand for a product that doesn't understand simple written commands.

That said, the heel-kicking that's going on has created a substantial market for grey import iPads - generally from Japan and Hong Kong. However, under Taiwanese law, while people are allowed to buy the device abroad and bring it back into the country, they are not allowed to sell it on. Naturally, several retailers are doing just that.

So, until Apple sorts out its OS and puts the iPad on sale in Taiwan, there will always be a healthy tablet smuggling operation - a bit like in Amsterdam, only not as often hidden up someone's bottom.

Are you the owner of a grey import iPad? If so, did it cost substantially more? Let us know in the comments below...

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