Manufacturers and dealers in Zhongguancun Electronic City, China’s largest consumer electronics distribution center, have seriously advanced in the art of making pirate iPhones. The market is now awash with fake iPhone 6S phones made from recycled iPhone 6 motherboards.
Li Xiong (pseudonym) bought a gold iPhone 6S, 64G for 5,000 yuan at a store at Zhongguancun on March 1. The price was 1,088 yuan cheaper than on Apple’s official website.
The phone began to malfunction soon after purchase, so Li went online to check the device’s IMEI code on Apple’s official website.
While it did appear to be an iPhone, the handset was activated two months before Li bought it. It was not until he took it to Apple’s service center that Li discovered his “iPhone 6S” was actually a modified iPhone 6 with an used serial number.
Liang Xu (pseudonym), a mobile phone dealer in Zhongguancun’s Dinghao Electronic City, told Beijing News that modifying an iPhone 6 into iPhone 6S costs much less than purchasing the new model.
“The shell for an iPhone 6S normally costs 300 yuan or more. By simply filling it with recycled iPhone 6 parts that cost 2,000 yuan, you can sell it at the price of a new iPhone 6S and make a profit of 2,000 yuan,” Liang said.
Dealers in Zhongguancun sell dozens each day.
“There are quite a few stores dealing in fake iPhones. In order to avoid responsibility, they seldom have stable storefronts and never stay in one place for long,” Liang said.
But many were reluctant to sell in the days before March 15 – National Consumer Day – wary of being caught in a media sting. “Business will pick up again after the 15th. I’ve been told to keep the phones hidden until then,” Li Jie, a mobile phone dealer, told Beijing News.