Chinese Apple fans can get their hands on the hiPhone, a cut-price coycat version of Apple’s iPhone 4. The iPhone hasn’t even launched in China yet, but the near-identical hiPhone offers the same features as the genuine handset, but with the addition of dual-sim slots and a built-in radio receiver.
Despite looking very similar to the Apple iPhone 4, it costs only 500 yuan, which is just shy of £50. Unsurprisingly it’s been hugely successful on online-shopping portal Taobao and 13000 online stores, with some shops shipping 1200 phones in 30 days.
Very little is known about the product, except it’s made it Shenzhen. It might look like the real thing, but it hasn’t gone through Apple’s strict manufacturing process, so it is likely made from low-quality components, that could shorten the lifespan compared to the official products. Which isn’t a surprise considering it’s 10 times cheaper.
He Guili, director of the China Telecommunication Technology Labs at the Ministry of Information and Industry Technology comments “Most copycat mobile phones have problems, especially higher radiation than the genuine phones, which pose serious health risks.”
The hiPhone is just the latest addition to China’s ‘shanzhai’ culture, which refers to the huge range of copycat electronic devices that thrive in China. According to GFK research in 2009 these fake phones accounted for a whopping 30% of the handset in market.
Tian Lipu, director of the State Intellectual Property Office comments: “China will tighten its control on this illegal action because many shanzhai products violate the intellectual property rights of others and should be regarded as piracy rather than innovation.”
It remains to be seen what Apple will do to combat this – legal action is surely on the cards – although it seems like it’s going to take more than a few lawsuits to stop this thriving and lucrative industry.
Via: China Daily