Shanzai! One answer to the puzzle of cheap phones

Posted on April 28, 2009  /  0 Comments

We’ve always wondered how new smart mobile phones, the technological marvels they are, go for so cheap. According to the teleuse@BOP3 study, the average price paid for a new phone by people in SEC groups D and E in Pakistan is USD 47 (down from USD 77 in 2006). The price of a second-hand phone is USD 27 (down from USD 45 in 2006).

Counterfeit phones (HiPhone, instead of iPhone) may be part of the answer:

Although shanzhai phones have only been around a few years, they already account for more than 20 percent of sales in China, which is the world’s biggest mobile phone market, according to the research firm Gartner.

They are also being illegally exported to Russia, India, the Middle East, Europe, even the United States. “The shanzhai phone market is expanding crazily,” says Wang Jiping, a senior analyst at IDC, which tracks technology trends. “They copy Apple, Nokia, whatever they like, and they respond to the market swiftly.”

But there is a price:

Last month, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology did warn consumers about the hazards of shanzhai phones, saying “their radiation usually exceeds the limit.” China’s consumer protection agency says faulty mobile phones were the No. 1 consumer complaint last year.

A few weeks ago, a 45-year-old man in south China was severely burned after his cellphone exploded in his shirt pocket, according to state-run news media.

Full article.

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