iPhone & iPod Knockoffs in China

Counter China

In Beijing we found a lot of electronics knockoffs. These weren’t the extra-runs-at-the-same-factory variety, but instead an entirely different product with similar hardware and branding. I saw “Sony” cameras, “Nokia H-Series” phones, fake iPhones, and fake iPods. Several times the people behind the counter thought that they were the real deal and didn’t understand my reluctance to purchase anything.

The iPods were especially impressive. They had very similar casing (though the navigation wheel is really just 5 buttons). The iPhones on the other hand looked nothing like the original except for the basic shape of the device. All of these knockoffs had completely different hardware.

Iphone Front China Real Iphone Front China Ipod Front China

We also spotted real iPhones. They were all hacked and came pre-installed with iLang, an iPhone app that adds support for Chinese. While the knockoffs were in the $80 – $200 range (without haggling), the real iPhones were more inline with US prices. Wired has an article on these unlocked iPhones and provides the back story of how they came to China.

(Photo Credit: Tim O’Reilly) You can see my Beijing Photos on Flickr — including a game system modder’s workshop and offerings.

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