Chinese police shut down supplier of over 40,000 fake iPhones

The supplier was allegedly shipping the fake iPhones to foreign countries

A merchant inspecting an iPhone for quality.

A merchant inspecting an iPhone for quality.

Apple's iPhones are a big business in China. So big that an alleged supplier of knock-off iPhones in the country produced at least 40,000 units, before local police shut down the massive operation.

Beijing authorities have arrested nine suspects, and confiscated over 1,400 fake handsets of different brands, as part of an investigation into the supplier, the city's police force announced on Sunday.

The supplier, based in Beijing, allegedly established one of the largest knock-off phone operations found in recent years, according to the police. Since January, the supplier produced over 41,000 fake iPhones, along with 66,000 smartphone circuit boards, for a value of over US$19.7 million.

In addition to smartphones, the supplier had also manufactured over a million imitation handset accessory units.

Beijing police began its investigation after a batch of fake smartphones were found shipped to the U.S. Chinese authorities then found that a 43-year-old man, surnamed Yu, and his wife had set up a factory in Beijing back in 2011, geared toward electronics repair.

The factory employed hundreds of people, and was specialized in taking discarded motherboards from old phones, and then repackaging them into new casings, for sale as knock-off handsets. Large quantities of these old motherboards came from outside China. To supply the casings, the factory relied on material shipped in from the Chinese city of Shenzhen that was labeled with brand names.

These fake phones were then exported to foreign countries, the police added.

The knock-off operation goes to show the large scale of the fake smartphone business in the country. China is not only a major producer of handsets, but it's also a major site for the world's electronic waste, with shipments of discarded products coming from across the world.

Since April, Beijing police has stepped up its enforcement of intellectual property, although knock-off products have long been a staple in China's electronics markets.

At the same time, local suppliers in the country have also been seeking to cash in on the iPhone's popularity. Both new iPhones, and even older ones are in demand. In Shenzhen, for instance, an entire mall has been set up devoted to selling secondhand iPhones that are refurbished for resale.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesApplelegaliPhoneconsumer electronicsintellectual propertyCriminal

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?