Chinese 'Pokemon Go' Fans are Paying for U.S. iTunes Accounts

Really, really, really gotta catch 'em all!

Pokemon Go/YouTube

When there’s a will, there’s a way, and Chinese Pokémon Go fans have a whole lot of will. Ahead of an official launch of the game in China, eager fans are snapping up American iTunes accounts to get early access and start playing.

A search for Pokmon Go on the Taobao store brings up pages of sellers looking to share their Apple ID, some going for as much as 25 yuan (nearly $4), even though the game itself is free.

Buyers who order one of these accounts are able to log into the iTunes store of a different country and download Pokémon Go for themselves. What happens after that is down to them: these accounts don’t guarantee access to the game after download, and if developer Niantic blocks any players until official launch, it’ll be their money down the drain.

According to Mashable, one online store has sold over 5,000 accounts. Unfortunately, players that do make it through to the world of virtual catching are sometimes disappointed to find an empty terrain, as far as the eye can see. No Pokéstops for some, it seems.


It’s easy to see why Chinese fans are so eager to play. Despite only being available in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, the game has become a mass phenomenon. Nintendo, who partnered with Niantic to make the game, has seen its share price skyrocket.

British gamers are also eager to get their mitts on the game, leading them to resort to Go Catch Em All, an odd knockoff of Pokémon Go with a deceptive App Store listing. Eager fans pushed the app to the number one spot on the download charts. By the end of Monday, however, the game had been removed from the store.

Despite its limited release, Niantic has struggled with some early teething problems. Researchers found that Pokémon Go was granting itself full access to users’ Google accounts, something the developer was quick to rectify with a security update.