Taobao’s merchants are at it again. Jumping on any endeavor to rid anxious buyers’ pockets of renminbi, China’s online market sellers are now rolling out seemingly non-working models of the iPhone 6 for anything between 15 to 460 RMB. This opportunistic jaunt is most likely inspired by Jimmy Lin’s iPhone 6 teaser from last week.
As the low price would suggest, these phone are most likely “non-working shells”, but it seems some people are so desperate to have the latest model that they’ll buy the fakes just so it looks like they can afford an iPhone, Quartz‘s Lily Kuo points out. As the marketing ad reflects, it’s “A poor man’s must have”. Other customers may purchase these shells just because they love Apple—either way, it’s a slightly depressing reality.
Its common for fully functioning copies of the latest gadgetry to be produced before their actual release in China, especially with iPhones. Not only because knockoffs are “big business” here, but also because many of these, including the latest iPhone update, are produced by the Taiwanese subcontractor firm, Foxconn, who manufactures in China and Taiwan.
This was the case in 2012 before the iPhone 5 was released. Counterfeit versions were produced by throwing together recycled iPhone parts and by copying leaked predictions of the design specs. In an attempt to try and prevent this from happening with the 5s, Apple launched the new model concurrently in the US and China to block counterfeiters who bulk buy them in Hong Kong.
Seeing as there have been multiple leakages as far as the iPhone 6 is concerned, speculation suggests that “manufacturing is probably already underway” despite questions surrounding whether Lin’s model is the real deal or not.
You keep doing you, China.
By Sophie Regan