The iPhone is probably the smartphone that gets cloned the most, and many Chinese manufacturers managed to perfectly clone the iPhone, at least on the outside. However it appears that some clones are so good that you can even trick Apple’s employees because two Chinese college students in the United States have managed to replace or repair “fake” iPhone smartphones worth nearly $1 million.
Yangyang Zhou and Quan Jiang have set up a pretty organized operating. They imported fake iPhones from China, which they brought in for warranty in Apple Stores or delivered them to authorized service shops using couriers. The phones did not work, so Apple employees were unable to verify their authenticity on the stop. They were replaced with original iPhone smartphones because Apple generally does not fix phones on the spot, preferring to replace them with new or refurbished phones.
The real iPhones were then sent to China where they were sold, and the money was was transferred into an account in the United States by Quan Jiang’s mother. Overall, at an average price of $600 for the 1.493 phones replaced on “warranty”, means that the two stole about $900,000 from Apple.
This happened in 2017 and Apple sent a letter to Jiang asking him to stop importing fake devices but he ignored it. When Apple took legal measures and notified the authorities, the two denied that the devices were fake. Yangyang Zhou is now charged with illegally importing goods while Quan Jiang is accused of illegally trafficking counterfeit goods and fraud.
It appears that services who are customer friendly such as the warranty provided by Apple can be easily tricked. It’s not clear whether Apple’s warranty policy will change in the near future or if Apple will start to pay more attention when verifying the phones that arrive for repairs. Considering the fact that only 1500 phones sent by the two out of 3000 were replaced, there is the possibility for those “perfect” clones to at least have an original Apple case.