Fake iPhone 5s Hit China Before Real Thing



There is widespread speculation about when Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) will launch the iPhone 5 - but fake versions of the smartphone have already been available in China for weeks.

One rumour suggested Apple would unveil iPhone 5 at an event in California today but it turned out to merely be a showcase for the upgraded iPhone 4S.

The specifications of the iPhone 5 are a tightly-held secret.

But at the Fangshitong Market in Beijing, fake iPhone 5s are selling for as little as £28 each.

Traders also sell counterfeit iPhone 3s and 4s, as well as knock-off BlackBerries and Nokia (Stockholm: NOKI-SEK.ST - news) smartphones.

"The designs were stolen from Apple and posted on the internet," said one stallholder who would identify himself only as Mr Chen.

He claimed his top-range model - selling for £70 - was "exactly the same" as the real iPhone 5.

Other traders at the market admitted that they could not be sure their fake iPhone 5s resembled Apple's latest design.

The counterfeit versions come without a warranty and with touch screens that are noticeably less responsive than the genuine article.

Police recently arrested five men in Shanghai for making and selling fake iPhones.

Earlier this year authorities shut down two unauthorised but elaborately faked "Apple Stores" in the city of Kunming.

Yet despite occasional crackdowns, China's trade in fake goods continues to flourish.

The country is said to be the global hub for a trade in counterfeiting worth over £100bn a year.