American business news channel CNBC reported on Monday that pre-orders for the iPhone SE in China had exceeded 3.4 million. Now some unseemly Chinese merchants have managed to turn versions of the iPhone 5s into fake iPhone SE for profit.
CNBC collected the iPhone SE pre-order data from the websites of three Chinese retailers. There have been 882,295 pre-orders through JD.com, 1.7 million through Suning and 889,668 through GOME, totaling over 3.4 million. It seems that the small-screen smartphone market still exists in China, a market that was thought to prefer phones with bigger screen sizes.
The iPhone SE has been called an iPhone 6s in the coat of an iPhone 5s. It has specs close to the 6s, but has a nearly identical physical appearance to the 5s. So why not turn a much cheaper 5s into an iPhone SE?
Some Chinese merchants have done just that. Before the iPhone SE officially goes on sale in China on Thursday, merchants at Huaqiangbei market in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen have been collecting used versions of the iPhone 5s. Huaqiangbei is a gigantic electronic parts market in the middle of Shenzhen. Almost everything you need to build a computer or smartphone is available there.
Using lasers, merchants add an “SE” to the back of an iPhone 5s, then sell these fake iPhone SE to their client sellers, according to Chinese news website iFeng.com. The difference between the prices of the 5s and the SE is huge, and the processing cost to make these fakes is negligible at RMB 60 (USD 9).
According to a report by American market research firm IDC, Apple made 231.5 million smartphone shipments in 2015, followed by Chinese-smartphone-maker Huawei’s 106.6 million, Lenovo’s 74 million and Xiaomi’s 70.8 million.
The four-inch-screen iPhone SE is thought to be Apple’s stepping-stone between the current flagship iPhone 6s and its next generation of smartphone. Xiaomi, Vivo and OPPO have all launched new smartphones in 2016.
（Top photo from iphone.tgbus.com）