Chinese fake iPhone factory shut down in £12 million raid

Counterfeit iPhones will be that bit harder to come by, thanks to a factory raid by Chinese police in Beijing.

Chinese fake iPhone factory shut down in £12 million raid

The factory, located on the outskirts of the Chinese capital, was said to have manufactured up to 41,000 fake Apple iPhones, using secondhand smartphone parts for exports worth 120 million yuan – over £12 million. Counterfeit iPhones tend to run a heavily skinned version of Android, while often impressively mimicking the style and aesthetics of Apple’s iconic flagship handset.

The factory was hiding in plain sight – running behind a shop that appeared to specialise in gadget maintenance, which presumably allowed the outfit to ensure a steady stream of parts without drawing too much suspicion.

Nine arrests were made – including the husband and wife team that led the operation – although the company is said to have hired “hundreds” of workers to repackage the imitation iPhones since it began operations in January.counterfeit_iphones

Following a tip-off from American authorities, police seized 1,400 counterfeit iPhones during the raid. Exactly how many handsets are out in the wild – and where they have been exported to – remains unknown.

Although it happened in May, reports have only just emerged after choice details of the raid were published on social media by the public security bureau in Beijing. Neither they, nor Apple, offered any additional comment on the arrests.

The news comes as China announces a crackdown on the manufacture of counterfeit goods. It has entered into an agreement with the USA to try and reduce the quantities of fake exports flowing between the nations.

It’s not the first time fake Apple products in China have made headlines – back in 2011, blogger BirdAbroad documented actual bricks-and-mortar counterfeit Apple Stores so convincing that even the staff believed they were working for the company.

Images: Luke Ma and Robert Scoble used under Creative Commons

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