As most people know by now, Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 6s and 6s Plus goes on sale today. Millions of people already pre-ordered the phone, so we will have to wait until Monday to see how the weekend’s sales measure up to last year’s sales of the iPhone 5 and 5s. In the meantime, workers in China are busy creating counterfeit models of the new iPhones - and the fakes are selling like hotcakes.
In fact, on the same day that the new phones were released in Hong Kong and China’s mainland, high quality knockoffs were already being sold for less than $100 - which is about one-eighth of the price of the real thing.
Hong Kong prices for the real deal are slightly less than those on the mainland. For example, in Hong Kong, prices for the true iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are about $721 and $1,000 respectively. On the mainland, the prices are about $829 and $1,080 respectively.
However, in Shenzhen’s Huaqiangbei shady market district, the counterfeit phones are selling for between $91 and $99. Tang Shouquan, a seller of counterfeit Apple products at one of the area’s local shops, stated that, “These are the first batch the factories have cloned to Apple’s advertising pictures. They will get the genuine model from Hong Kong today and immediately adjust the color and shape to make the second batch an even better imitation.”
As of now, the iPhone’s new rose gold color is not yet available as a counterfeit. But as Shouquan notes, “We expect to have a rose gold version in a few days.”
The counterfeits apparently are very good and hard to distinguish from the real things. The fakes run on the Android operating system but are made to look like they are running on Apple’s iOS.
Shouquan noted that most of the counterfeits will be sold to customers from smaller towns across the country and points out that, “There is a huge market for fake iPhones in the Chinese hinterlands. People there dream of possessing world-class products but most people who come from rural areas that’s all it is - a dream. They can’t afford to buy them.”
Presently, possessing an iPhone is a major status symbol in China. Along with designer handbags and shoes, having an iPhone is considered a personal success. Some companies even sell fake Starbucks thermoses and mugs so that people who cannot afford the real drinks can pretend that they are.
Shouquan also points out that competition among counterfeiters is growing. “Prices are . . . getting lower because the competition [in China] is so intense . . . [N]ow it’s hard to make that much money because the competition from all the cheaper Chinese smartphone brands is so fierce. We used to charge [$314] for a fake iPhone 4s. Now we sell the 6s for about a quarter of that.”
One things is sure - the lines for the counterfeits are getting as long as the lines for the real deal.