For years, copycat cellphones have thrived in a country famed for counterfeiting many things, such as Gucci handbags, Hollywood DVDs and, most recently, Apple retail stores. Its a market fed by shadowy factories turning out low-cost models bearing names such as BlockBerry and HiPhone 4.
Falling prices for brand-name models are just one reason crude clones are becoming passe.
Chinese consumers increasingly want devices that allow them to surf the Web, play games and download apps, a level of sophistication that’s tough for some low-rent producers to deliver. Some upwardly mobile city dwellers wouldn’t dare risk losing face by carrying a knockoff phone.
Factory orders for unlicensed phones, better known in China as shanzhai, or outlawed, phones, have been declining rapidly over the last few years, according to market researcher IHS iSuppli.
Slightly more than 24 million shanzhai phones were ordered in China last year; that’s down about half from the peak in 2007 when the devices accounted for 20% of all shipments. Today, shanzhai handsets represent just 7% of new factory orders for phones and could be half that within a few years.
Wait to see if Shanzhai improves themselves then they will come back quickly