AH Tech Talk: China Has A Big Counterfeit Smartphone Problem

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Virtually everybody these days owns a smartphone, millions are purchased every day around the world. Unfortunately, smartphones that people purchase aren’t always what they appear to be, especially if you live in China. Both Samsung and Xiaomi are very aware of this issue as they are apparently the two manufacturers being affected most by this issue. This issue is counterfeit smartphones, something that has become a growing issue in China. You see, there are a huge amount of counterfeit smartphones in China and a new report is claiming that over half of those are fake models of Samsung and Xiaomi devices. This is obviously not good for either the consumer or Samsung and Xiaomi as both end up with a loss in the end. The consumer receives a cheaply made and underpowered device and the actual manufacturer loses out on a sale.

Just to give you an idea of the depth this issue has, Antutu, which is a Chinese benchmarking app with over a 10 million users, has reported that 31% of devices using their service are counterfeit devices. On top of that, 37% of those 31% of devices are fake Xiaomi devices alone. Xiaomi is fully aware of this counterfeit device issue and they are actively trying to prevent it. In fact, located on Xiaomi’s official website the company has built an online tool that allows people to cross-check the authenticity of their Xiaomi device. This is done by users inputting their devices security code and having the program check for legitimacy.

As was mentioned above, Samsung has been hit pretty hard by counterfeit devices in China recently as well. All you have to do is take a trip to China or try to order a Samsung device from China and you will see for yourself. A substantial amount of devices being sold in China are branded as Samsung but actually have nothing to do with the smartphone giant. This, of course, hurts Samsung as they lose more and more sales in China to these much cheaper devices with their branding on them. You can see this as Samsung’s device shipments fall by 4% year after year, this year not excluded. Sure, this can’t be solely caused by counterfeit smartphones, but there is no doubt that they certainly don’t help.

The Antutu report did not reveal any numbers of percentages of counterfeit iPhones in China, but those numbers would almost certainly be high. Possessing an iPhone in China is seen as a status symbol and many people can not afford them. Becuase of this people will make very cheap knockoffs of iPhones or just any random device with the Apple logo on it and sell it for a portion of the cost of an actual iPhone. Counterfeit devices have always been an issue as they promise people a great device at a portion of the cost. Becuase of this, smartphone manufacturers need to work together to weed out and eliminate these counterfeit devices and manufacturers. This would not only benefit them but their customers as well.