chinese i-phone
January 17, 2009 1:38 AM   Subscribe

hypothetically, if someone bought an i-phone in china right now, they could pick it up for around under $100. (8GB) if it is bought in america or Aus, it is usually around $500-600. It seems that the quality of the chinese samples are quite good. where do they come from?

i have worked in china for a while now. the chinese i-phone seems quite reliable, but the price is so much lower. are they copies? thefts? from the same factory, out the back door? they are everywhere for sale. does anyone have any real insight as to where they are sourced from?
posted by edtut to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The ones selling in China for $100 are cheap imitations. Not from the same factory, not from the same materials, not based on the same technology.

Here's a review of one of the many iPhone ripoffs.
posted by helios at 2:10 AM on January 17, 2009

Yeah, I know a few people who've got iphones here in Nanjing and they paid more than the American price for them. The phones had to be reexported from abroad and then unlocked. I think there's now an official way to get one through China Mobile or at least plans are underway. All of the legit phones that I've seen here, iphone or not, are at least at the American price level, if not higher.
posted by msbrauer at 2:16 AM on January 17, 2009

The iPhone is not officially for sale in China yet. So authentic iPhones can be had usually for more than the official price, or copies (some might be quite good) can be had for less.

The current rumors suggest that Apple will introduce the iPhone nano (a smaller version, less expensive with fewer features) and it may go to China first. These rumors have been floating around for quite some time and who knows when/if it comes true.
posted by birdherder at 6:16 AM on January 17, 2009

The iPhone knockoffs directly rip off the iPhone's graphics, so they might look like an iPhone to the casual observer, but they really don't work the same at all, and of course they're completely incompatible.
posted by designbot at 7:07 AM on January 17, 2009

They've got iPhone's with almost identical exterior and the phone's OS has the iPhone OS at the front. They're easy to spot as fake if you try to click into a program and a very, very second-rate program launches. Seconding msbrauer, in Shenzhen the real iPhones (and most Apple products) are all at or above US prices. If it looks too good to be true, it is. A general rule of thumb is that you can get a little bit above the best Amazon price for an item if you haggle well in the right kind of electronics market.

I did have a friend here who bought an Macbook at great price from a "legit" store a few years ago. When he took it in for a repair, he was told it had been stolen off the factory line here in Shenzhen. It was "fun" trying to get the computer back after that.
posted by trinarian at 8:16 AM on January 17, 2009

The tphone isnt an iphone. Its a clone. It wont work with itunes, it wont have the apps you like, and it wont work with the app store.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:20 AM on January 17, 2009

Yup, total knockoffs. Most Chinese ppl have to go to HK to get the real deal (or Shenzhen at the border it seems).

Quality of fakes varies - sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. When you buy, definitely ask to see the packaging, check for misspellings and research the iphone so you know exactly what it looks like (common sense). Sometimes if you have a sympathetic salesperson (happens more often in Beijing, in my experience) they will tell you it's a fake but that it's just as good. You just have to ask.

I'd pony up for the real thing if you are going to use it a lot and you want it to last. It's a better investment in the long run.
posted by HolyWood at 11:52 AM on January 18, 2009

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