The Nanfang / Blog

Mecca of Fake Smartphone Production Raided by Chinese Police

Posted: 12/18/2014 5:58 pm

Fake iPhone 6s seized at the illegal workshop in Huizhou, Guangdong

They look the part and cost only a fraction of the price: fake iPhone 6s.

Huizhou, in central Guangdong Province, is the mecca of fake smartphones produced to export to overseas markets. A workshop nestled in a village of Boluo County with roughly 40 employees was responsible for producing about 4,200 fake iPhone 6s and 10,000 fake Samsung Galaxy S4s since April of this year, according to police.

The counterfeit phones were only discovered after police acted on a tip by local residents. In a raid on December 3, 1,700 knockoffs were seized, including semi-finished and finished models.

Three of the main suspects admitted that these phones were sold through illegal channels to foreign markets. A fake iPhone 6 produced by the factory sells for a mere RMB 700 to RMB 800 ($130), much cheaper than Apple’s starting price of RMB 5,288 ($853).

The report, however, did not specify exactly where the phones were neaded, nor the scale of the illegal production facility in Huizhou. But according to Elizabeth Woyke, author of The Smartphone: Anatomy of an Industry, an estimated 195 million knockoff smartphones and diverted phones - devices intended for sale in one market but illegally imported into another – were shipped to overseas market in 2013, reported Australian newspaper The Age.

Most of those illegal production workshops are located in Guangdong, often near Apple’s supplier Foxconn factories in Shenzhen, the author said.

Photos: Nandu



Man Caught at Shenzhen Port with 33 iPhone 6s Strapped to His Body

Posted: 10/15/2014 11:00 am

Buyers paying cash to resellers for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus outside of an Apple Store in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

There is just no end to the unique and creative ways of smuggling iPhones into China. Take Mr. Chan, a 50 year old Hong Kong man, for example. He was caught trying to enter the country at the Luohu border with 33 iPhone 6 Plus units strapped to his body, reports Shenzhen Business Daily.

According to customs officers, Chan was fidgeting with a plastic bag where, after a search, they discovered the phones. Chan said the phones were bought in Hong Kong to be resold in Shenzhen.

Resellers of iPhone 6 outside of Apple’s store in Causeway Bay.

Demand for the iPhone has been exceptionally high and people will do almost anything to get one, even though it will be for sale in Mainland China in two days. One woman in Guangxi was even seen roaming around the city completely naked in hopes of winning one. According to reports, the woman made a bet with her friends that if she walked around the city naked, they would give her an iPhone 6. In late September, a Chinese man was caught stuffing eight iPhone 6s into his underpants while trying to enter the Mainland from Hong Kong.

According to figures released by China’s Customs Department, between September 10 and 24, Shenzhen Customs confiscated more than 2,000 iPhone 6s. On September 25 alone, Shanghai seized 453 iPhone 6s, Xinhua reported.

Photos: Bloomberg/Getty Image; SCMP



Chinese Government Says “No” to Samsung Phones

Posted: 10/8/2014 9:49 am

samsung phoneChina smartphone maker Huawei looks to become the official phone of China as first Apple, and now Samsung, have been banned for use by government officials.

Like Apple’s iPhone that was banned last August, the Chinese government is citing security concerns with Samsung phones, reports Phone Arena. The ban gives a boost to local phone makers such as Huawei and Xiaomi.

Long accused of spying for the Chinese government, Huawei has also been the victim of spying from the US National Security Association (NSA). The details were revealed by former NSA contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden, reported PC World.

Meanwhile, Taiwan is considering banning Xiaomi phones after a Finnish security company showed the company’s phones were surreptitiously collecting and sending address book contacts, reported Reuters. Xiaomi has also been accused by the Hong Kong media of sending copies of text messages to the mainland, an accusation it denies.

A shift away from Western-developed technology seems to be widening in China. The ban on Apple and Samsung smartphones for official use follows the ban on Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system at a time when China is busy developing its own Linux-based operating system.

Photo: Candou


Global Times: “All iPhone 6 Owners Deserve to Be Despised”

Posted: 09/28/2014 11:53 am

iphone 6 retail saleChina’s firebrand mouthpiece has published an editorial advocating open hostility towards anyone who owns an iPhone 6, which still isn’t officially on sale in China.

The nationalist newspaper Global Times said lust after the product and the opportunists that are trying cater to it have both made China lose face on an international scale; “face”, of course, being the ancient concept that the respect of a person or entity is entirely dependent upon what others think of you/it.

READ: iPhone 6 Selfie Spreads on Chinese Social Networks

The Global Times points to three individuals arrested for fighting outside an Apple store as an example, noting all three are “Chinese nationals”. In fact, the paper even printed this passage:

A US police officer insulted (the Chinese people waiting in line), saying, ‘Haven’t you people ever heard of soap?‘ After this incident comes to be known in China, it will be an embarrassment for many people here.

READ: Unreleased Hong Kong and US Versions of iPhone 6
Already on Sale in Beijing for US$4,500

So what does the Global Times think of iPhone 6 owners?

Most people do it for vanity so that they can show it off. It’s as though having an iPhone 6 right now is so awesome, as if it were trendy, cool, and impressive. But in fact, the people that now have the iPhone 6 aren’t what they think they are.

READ: Chinese Line Up Globally To Buy – And Then Sell – the iPhone 6

The reckless drive for profit is not just something that Chinese have done, but Marx described how profit can warp human nature. At the time he said it, he was referring to Westerners.

To borrow a phrase, “If there is no buying or selling, then there is no loss of face.”

READ: Shenzhen: The Cradle of the iPhone, and Also its Huge Resale Market

The op-ed concludes by saying why Chinese people should be ashamed:

Many people say the iPhone 6 exploits the Chinese people by performing mental experiments in the form of number of marketing tricks, thus proving that there are fools with too much money in the Chinese market. This is the place where there is a real loss of face. That’s why whomever has an iPhone 6 deserves to be looked down upon with despise.

With the blame fully doled out, no mention was made in the op-ed of the reason behind the delayed launch of the iPhone 6 in China. As reported by AsiaOne, Beijing’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology did not list the iPhone 6 as having been approved for the Chinese market before its worldwide launch.

READ: No Mooncakes, No work! Workers at Apple’s Supplier
in Dongguan on Strike

Though the iPhone 5s launched in China simultaneously with the rest of the world, this iPhone hit a snag when CCTV accused Apple of threatening national security by being able to track a user’s location. However, rumors are the iPhone 6 is set to go on sale in China on October 10.


Photo: Reuters


iPhone 6 Selfie Spreads on Chinese Social Networks

Posted: 09/25/2014 11:36 am

smuggled iphone 6The delayed release of the iPhone 6 in China has led to opportunists in the US willing to fight each other in order to sell to Chinese buyers willing to pay exorbitant prices.

READ: Chinese Line Up Globally To Buy – And Then Sell – the iPhone 6

smuggled iphone 6Since its release seven days ago, over 2,000 iPhones 6 have been seized at Luohu border customs in Shenzhen. Nearby in Huaqiang North, a mecca for iPhone resales, the iPhone 6 is currently selling for RMB 6,800.

Meanwhile in Shanghai, 335 iPhones 6 have been seized at Pudong International Airport during the same period.

smuggled iphone 6

READ: Unreleased Hong Kong and US Versions of iPhone 6
Already on Sale in Beijing for US$4,500

Some people just don’t see what the fuss is about. China Daily reports that despite costing around $1,000, the iPhone 6 is only worth between $200 and $247 in spare parts. Furthermore, the cost of labor is between $4 and $4.50 per phone.

But that’s some people. Others will do anything to get their hands on Apple’s latest gadget, with the iPhone “selfie” spreading on Chinese social networks.

iphone 6 selfieiphone 6 selfie

With this much hype and anticipation, it isn’t hard to see why people won’t try to exploit the situation. Unfortunately an unlucky Wuhan employee was cheated by his very own boss.

The man, Xiaoliu, was promised that if he and his coworkers completed a project on time, they would all each be rewarded with “Apple 6″. As it turned out, this meant a reward of six apples.

apple six iphone 6

We assume, after giving Xiaoliu his prize, the boss said:  ”How do you like dem apples?”


Photos: Shenzhen Evening Report (2), Hong Kong Culture Exchange Net, China Daily, Weibo (2)


Chinese Line Up Globally To Buy – And Then Sell – the iPhone 6

Posted: 09/22/2014 11:00 am
iPhone 6 lineup

Chinese customers waiting outside an Apple store in New York.

When it comes to Apple’s iPhone 6, there is nothing Chinese won’t do to get their hands on one including, but not limited to, queuing day and night, sleeping on the sidewalk, or renting out a girlfriend to raise money for the phone.

Instead of waiting in line with fully-charged Apple devices like other Apple fans in Melbourne, Australia, many Chinese were seen getting by with a uniquely Chinese pastime: mahjong, Tencent News reported. Squatting on small chairs, nothing seemed to disturb those eagerly waiting from shuffling their mahjong tiles.

Interestingly, the report acknowledged a lot of Chinese faces waiting in the queues worldwide. Almost everywhere the iPhone 6 is available, including the U.S., Hong Kong and Australia, a sizeable number of Chinese – young, old, men, and women – made up large portions of the lines. This of course fuels speculation that Chinese buyers are scalping the phones to clients in China, where the phone is unavailable, at a significantly higher price.

In a six-minute video by Casey Neistat, Chinese were documented selling their newly acquired phones to other interested buyers. He claimed the Chinese lining up for the phones in the city were organized and managed by Chinese mafia groups.

We don’t know if there is any truth to Casey’s claim; but, if there is, judging by the dedication Chinese buyers have shown so far for the phone, the mafia were doing a good job keeping them in line.

See the photos below for more evidence of the Chinese love of the iPhone 6:

iPhone 6 lineup

Chinese playing mahjong outside an Apple store in Melbourne, Australia.

iPhone 6 lineup

Chinese customers waiting in line in California.

iPhone 6 lineup

Several Chinese customers waiting outside an Apple store in New York broke out in a fight.

Scalpers selling iPhone 6 to other buyers in Hong Kong.

Photos: Tencent, Reuters and AFP


Shenzhen: The Cradle of the iPhone, and Also its Huge Resale Market

Posted: 09/18/2014 6:22 pm

huaqiang bei iphone resell market greyThe heavily-anticipated iPhone 6, Apple’s newest smartphone, goes on sale today (September 19) in Hong Kong, but not Mainland China. That means demand for the smartphone has increased substantially, with smuggled versions already being listed for RMB 10,000 and up.

But you don’t have to pay that if you don’t need the latest and greatest Apple gadget. Shenzhen houses the massive Foxconn factories where Apple products are produced, but it’s also home to a thriving marketplace that sells these same phones, albeit several models behind.

The arrival of the iPhone 6 has dropped the price of the iPhone 4 down to RMB 1,500 at this market, and budget-conscious consumers are flocking to Open World Communication City in Shenzhen’s Huaqiang North District to purchase refurbished phones.

Older models like the iPhone 4 are popular among many Chinese because they are still Apple phones, but they are cheap.

READ: Taiwan TV: “Chinese Blue Collar Workers Can’t Afford Home Computers”

Huaqiang North District has become an extremely popular place to purchase cheap and fake (shanzhai) electronics after a resurgence in 2010. It has now become a ”barometer” of the electronics economy.

Open World Communication City is full of stalls packed with old iPhones in various conditions, some with cracked screens, and others held together by rubber bands. The mall is equally full of shops that offer repair services for cracked screens and destroyed casing for those who want a fixer-upper.

A seller named Lu sells refurbished iPhone 4′s in bulk at RMB 1,000 each (US $160). Another offers re-polished displays for the iPhone 5 at RMB 170 (US $28).

READ: Unreleased Hong Kong and US Versions of iPhone 6 Already on Sale in Beijing for US$4,500

However, many of the clients that frequent Open World Communication City aren’t individual consumers, but sellers hoping to resell a refurbished phone at a profit. As sellers sell to sellers, the origin of many of these old phones gets lost in the shuffle and dealers won’t disclose where they get their stock from.

US versions of iPhones going on resale in China may come from any number of sources, such as online reseller Gazelle, which revealed that half of its iPhone stock is resold to “emerging markets”.

huaqiang bei iphone resell market grey

As nebulous as the source from which old iPhones are gathered, the products and services offered at the mall and throughout Huaqiang North District are even more suspect. A photo BBS post depicts the method by which an iPhone 5 can be altered to resemble an iPhone 5s, all while emphasizing that it is taking place in Huaqiang North (seen above).

Even though Chinese conservative values emphasize the importance of relationships through business and blood, the social value of owning a status symbol like an iPhone—no matter the model—make it more valuable than diamonds.


Photos:  Qiyexun, Baidu Tieba


No Mooncakes, No work! Workers at Apple’s Supplier in Dongguan on Strike

Posted: 09/12/2014 10:10 am

Workers from Wasstop, a subsidiary of Taiwanese company Wintek, gathered outside of the company to protest.

Hundreds of workers at one of Apple’s suppliers in Dongguan were on strike Tuesday and Wednesday after the company failed to give the workers mooncakes and an RMB 600 ($98) bonus, reported Nandu on September 10.

Workers at the Masstop Liquid Crystal Display Company, blocked a major intersection at Shilong Road and Huancheng Road in Sanyuan Industrial Park, causing traffic congestion, the report said.

The government has banned officials from giving mooncakes to employees in an effort to reign in corruption. Of course, the mooncakes aren’t really the issue, rather it’s the bonuses that typically accompany them. Nonetheless, the law has led to a sharp drop in sales among mooncake suppliers across the country.

One unidentified worker said that the company typically gives a holiday bonus for Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival and Spring Festival to employees who have worked at the company for over a year. This year however, the bonus for Mid-Autumn Festival was absent, without any explanation.

Police vehicles at the protesting scene

Although Apple distanced itself from Masstop following a labour strike in 2009,  Globalpost reported, the optics aren’t particularly good. With the tech giant launching its new iPhones earlier this week, “strike” and “protest” probably aren’t the sort of headlines the company is looking for.

Apple had no comment regarding the protest. By 18:00 on Wednesday, about 80% of workers had returned to work.

Photos: China News 


Woman Claims iPhone 5s Burned Her Face, And Has Photos to Prove It

Posted: 08/21/2014 11:23 am

zhuzhou iphone burn woman apple electricWe all know cell phones can heat up if used consistently over a long period of time, but how hot can they get? And are they safe?

One woman in Hunan doesn’t think so. She claims her iPhone 5s got so hot it burned her face. Doctors at the Zhuzhou People’s Hospital say the burn marks are indeed the result of “electric radiation burn”.

It all happened in July, when Su Jing from Zhuzhou, Henan was having a long talk on her iPhone 5s. During the call, Su felt her phone getting hot, so she switched to speaker phone. After the call she noticed a burning sensation on the left side of her face, but didn’t think anything of it.

Su only discovered the mark when she went to work the next day. She then went to a clinic, but was redirected to a hospital where she received her diagnosis. Su has reported the case to Apple, the manufacturer of the iPhone 5s, but has not received any answers so far.

She first went to an authorized Apple re-seller, but was told they wouldn’t be responsible for any injuries. When Su called the Apple customer service hotline, she was told she would first need to return the phone before Apple could make any kind of decision. However, Su said she’s unwilling courier the phone as nobody would be responsible for it if something happened to it in transit.

Su went back to the re-seller, which called Apple to verify if it can accept the phone on Apple’s behalf. However, there has been no reply. Su said she was told by Apple a month ago that the company would look into it, but she still hasn’t received a response.

A report in the Chinese media decided to test how hot cell phones can get during continuous use. Three phones were used in the experiement: an iPhone 5S, a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and a Huawei G700.

After one hour of continuous use an infrared thermometer showed that screens on two of the phones reached a temperature of 40 degree Celsius. After 90 minutes, they reached temperatures of 49 degrees Celsius. The report didn’t say which two phones heated up the most.

Photo: XXCB



Massive Recruitment Drive Underway in China To Build Apple’s Next iPhone

Posted: 07/25/2014 9:16 am

Foxconn is planning to hire at least 100,000 workers at its manufacturing bases in Shenzhen, Henan and Hebei Provinces to produce the latest version of Apple’s iPhone. The iPhone 6 is expected to launch in the third quarter of this year, reported Tencent News.

Jiao Jinmiao, head of the Henan Commerce Department, confirmed that Foxconn, the largest contract manufacturer of Apple products in the world, plans to hire another 100,000 workers in that particular province alone after the new iPhone 6 production equipment is put in place.

Workers in Foxconn’s Shenzhen manufacturing plant lines up for hiring.

Foxconn’s manufacturing factory in Zhengzhou, Henan has been hiring every day since June 26. In addition to the massive recruitment in Henan, its manufacturing plants in Langfang, Hebei Province, Yantai, Shandong Province, and Shenzhen have all started hiring new personnel.

The new iPhone 6 is rumored to have two versions, namely a 4.7-inch version and a 5.5-inch version, with at least one model having a sapphire screen. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Apple has ordered its manufacturing suppliers to produce 60 million to 70 million iPhone 6 units, the highest production volume of any iPhone model in the company’s history.

Foxconn has been producing iPhone 6 since March this year.

Due to the large orders of the new iPhones, workers in Foxconn’s Shenzhen manufacturing plant are requested to work day and night, according to one person who claimed to be in charge of hiring in Shenzhen when interviewed by Tencent.

Foxconn also rolled out several financial incentives to stimulate work production. Workers who chose to work overtime can get up to twice their salary. Any worker who brought in a new recruit who stays with the company for three months can also get a RMB 300 reward, according to the report.

Foxconn has previously experienced problems with its workforce. In 2012, the company was embroiled in a scandal when many of its workers committed suicide, leading to the installment of nets to catch them and the signing of a “no suicide” pact.


Photos: T3/Screenshot; Tencent 

Keep in Touch

What's happening this week in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou? Sign up to be notified when we launch the This Week @ Nanfang newsletter.

sign up for our newsletter

Nanfang TV