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Beijing cops shut down huge $19 million counterfeit iPhone factory

Published Jul 27th, 2015 7:30PM EDT
Fake iPhone 6 China Factory Shut Down

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Have you ever seen an iPhone on sale with a price that’s too good to be true? It turns out counterfeiting the iPhone is a profitable pastime in many parts of the world. But at least one massive counterfeit iPhone operation in China was recently shut down, as police raided a factory that produced more than 41,000 fake iPhones worth as much as $19 million.

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Disguised as a gadget maintenance shop, the company operated in the northern outskirts of Beijing and was apparently the brainchild of a married couple.

The couple allegedly set up the factory in January, Reuters reports, by creating six assembly lines and hiring hundreds of workers to repackage second-hand smartphone components as iPhones for export.

Authorities seized 1,400 handsets and a large number of accessories during the May 14th raid after acting on a tip-off from U.S. authorities who seized some of the fake iPhones.

At this time, it’s not clear how many fake iPhones have reached the U.S. Reuters says that Apple’s newest handsets sell for at least $649, depending on the model, suggesting that the operation also made fake iPhone 6 units.

Reuters further explains that Chinese officials have taken a stiffer action to enforce intellectual property rights in the region by pushing firms to apply for trademarks and patents and going after fake devices.

China has often been criticized for the large number of knock-off products created in the region, including fake iPhones.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.