BEIJING: A factory producing thousands of fake Apple iPhones has been raided and nine suspects detained in a major counterfeit bust by Beijing police.
Along with more than 41,000 “iPhones” police found the factory manufactured 66,000 fake ribbon cables with a total value of 120 million yuan (£12.4 million).
It is unclear how many counterfeit products were exported overseas, but at least some of the fake smartphones were sold in the US market.
The bust took place in May, according to the statement posted on the social media account of the public security bureau in Beijing on Sunday.
Police found six production lines hidden in the depths of an industrial zone on the northern outskirts of the Chinese capital. The factory operated under the guise of an electronic gadget maintenance company.
Two of the suspects, a 43-year-old man surnamed Yu and his 40-year-old wife surnamed Xie, both from Shenzhen, were at head of the racket, according to police.
The couple bought used smartphone mainboards from overseas and fake parts bearing Apple logos from Shenzhen, a technology hub in southern China. They hired hundreds of workers to assemble and repackage the fake smartphones for export.
The firm, which was not named in the statement, attracted the attention of authorities after fake iPhones seized in the US in May were found to have originated from China.
Apple is one of the most popular electronic goods brands in China, with the company’s revenue rising 112 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2015 in the greater China region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Accordingly, online shopping sites and black markets are rife with knock-off iPhones, iPads and other Apple accessories.
In 2011, in the southwestern city of Kunming, more than a dozen unauthorised brick-and-mortar fake Apple stores were uncovered. Uniformed employees interviewed at the stores were convinced they were working for the genuine Apple company.
Apple products aren’t the only high-demand items that consumers are often fooled into buying as counterfeit goods.
Fake perfume, make-up, hair straightening products and sun cream often purchased online can contain lethal ingredients, City of London Police recently warned. Rats’ droppings, human urine and arsenic have all been found in fake goods being sold as the real deal.
Fake Apple watches were reported to be selling like hot cakes in China in April, where consumers were paying for low-cost versions of the device which unlike the real thing, could function without a separate smartphone.