From the Los Angeles Times
Could it be? Are Shanzhai phones really on the way out?! Recent trends suggest that these “phoney” items may be on their last legs, which stands in stark contrast to years past, when shanzai phones constituted 20% of all new shipments. Now, they only account for 7% of new factory orders.
To throw salt in the wounds of China’s bootleg industry even more, authentic smartphone sales continue to skyrocket, with smartphone usage jumping from 52 million devices in use in 2009 to the current total of 131 million.
Many factors account for this national loss of interest in shanzai phones, not the least of which is the plummeting prices for genuine smart-phones. “People want the real thing,” stated one Beijing vendor. “Prices have gone down so much, why would anyone need to buy a fake?”
Not only that, but as the economy booms, increasingly wealthy Chinese businessmen won’t be as keen to purchase anything that might denigrate their position, like a knockoff phone. Add a recent spike in the number crackdowns on the shanzai phone industry, among the most notable being a bust of five involved in a Shanghai fake-iPhone ring, and it is easy to see why the shanzai market grasps so feebly at life.
Ironically, it almost seems like legitimate cell phone makers are now making shanzhai versions of their own successful products.
By Benjamin Cost