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China's Mobile Phoney MeccaChina's Mobile Phoney Mecca

4:45 AM iPhone or iPhoney? Knock-off cellphones in China drive an enormous and thriving industry

Sarah Thomas

April 15, 2011

1 Min Read
China's Mobile Phoney Mecca

As smartphones become popular, the Chinese mobile phone knock-off market thrives, too. China is the world's largest mobile market but it is also price sensitive and fragmented by a number of 2G and 3G protocols. Since the market is made up of so many players, large manufacturers here often breed smaller manufacturing spin-offs that keep the knock-off market booming. (See 3G & Android Shape China's Mobile Market.)

UBM TechInsights says these knock-offs will probably be a part of the Chinese market for some time, with some of their manufacturers having even made the leap from grey market to legitimate brand names.

This week, Chinese broadcaster Television Broadcasts Limited took a really interesting two-part look at the market for "mobile phoneys" -- or “Shanzhai” knock-off phones -- in China. Check out the videos:

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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