Authorities bust fake iPhone ring in Shanghai that used authentic iPhone components

Sun, Oct 9, 2011


Apple’s problem with knockoff and counterfeit iOS products is well-known. Over the past few years, devices purporting to be iPhones and iPods have become increasingly better developed and harder to separate from the real thing.

That said, Apple scored a noteworthy victory recently when a counterfeit iPhone ring in China was disbanded. And underscoring these counterfeiters attention to detail, it’s interesting that the knockoff iPhones in question were built with genuine iPhone components.

Police said those arrested were part of an organised gang that bought components for the phones from Guangdong in southern China and assembled them in rented apartments in Shanghai, the Shanghai Daily said.

All told, about 200 fake iPhones were confiscated during a police raid on the aforementioned iPhone ring.

Reuters relays that the cost to make a fake iPhone with a smattering of authentic iPhone components comes in at $313 and that these crooks then sell the devices for upwards of $626, yielding a 100% return in the process.

“It’s really hard for customers to distinguish the fake ones from the genuine ones,” an officer was quoted as saying.China has been repeatedly criticised for widespread violation of intellectual property rights, but pirated goods from expensive brands of watches, bags and computer software can be easily found in shops.

Last month, we highlighted that Apple actually has a security team in place to help it fight against the proliferation of counterfeit iOS products. This security team was originally created back in March of 2008 with team members recruited from a team that used to work for Pfizer in their efforts to help crackdown on companies selling counterfeit products like Viagra.

Apple’s security team reportedly operates by concentrating on street vendors first, then focusing on the manufacturing facilities that supply said street vendors. Further, Apple’s security team also cooperates with local authorities to help organize raids on manufacturing facilities. We imagine that a similar scenario played out in the recent raid on the aforementioned knockoff ring.


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