Counterfeit Versions of the iPhone 6 Debut Overseas

Counterfeit versions of the iPhone 6 are apparently already available overseas. Three months before Apple debuts the latest version of the iPhone, resellers on China's biggest e-commerce site,, are marketing what can be loosely translated as "models" of the iPhone 6. The "models" are believed to be made of old iPhone 5 and new iPhone 6 components.

This is not without precedent. Back in 2012, low-cost knock-offs of the iPhone 5 made it to market before the real product did as well.

Chinese manufacturing practices—and lax legal protection for intellectual property there—have generated this counterfeiting phenomenon. Commercial knockoffs, called shanzai in Mandarin, are a lucrative business in mainland China and the Chinese diaspora. Manufacturers have been known to make fully functioning copies of new products even before they’re released. The designs of the knockoffs are based on news leaks about purported features of the upcoming product.

This isn't just a problem for Apple though; counterfeit goods from Chinafrom drugs to consumer electronics"account for 2 percent of world trade." according to a report by the World Customs Organization and the United Nations.

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Gene Koprowski has been writing about science and technology for more than 25 years. He received an Emmy Award nomination from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) for his technology reporting for in 2009. He is the author a number of technology books, including Nanotechnology in Medicine: Emerging Applications.