Black market Apple iPhones are China’s newest ‘Ai Feng’ (‘Love Craze’)

“Despite rampant rumors of a deal between Apple and China’s largest cellphone carrier, no one knows when the iPhone is supposed to hit China officially. But that hasn’t stopped Apple’s popular smartphone, known in China as ‘Ai Feng’ (‘Love Craze’), from becoming a bona fide black-market hit,” Aventurina King reports for Wired.

“In one Chinese netizen’s words: ‘It’s like the whole country has gone iPhone, all my friends have become iPhoners,'” King reports.

“The iPhone is readily available in computer superstores in most large Chinese cities… Chinese websites have iPhone fever, too. A search through blog-hosting site Sina returns more than 63,000 posts mentioning the iPhone. There are forums providing instantaneous updates of cracking software (to keep up with Apple’s twitchy defense mechanisms) and large support communities — the largest,, has 170,000 members,” King reports.

“Although these services may look legitimate, the Chinese iPhone market is completely unauthorized. All of the iPhones sold in China are unlocked, and not a single one has Apple insurance or warranty coverage,” King reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Mike in Helsinki” for the heads up.]


  1. More than 700 iPHones are sold on eBay each and every day. I’ll wager that the majority of them come across the border to Canada. Pretty soon the market here will be saturated and the only thing that Rogers will get out of it will be the service contract at the reasonable rates that Apple will insist on.

    Rogers thinks that it can outwait Apple and get their typicall ‘robber baron’ deal of ten to 20 times more htan anywhere else in the civilized world.Rogers will completely lose it when Apple unveils the 3G iPhone and gets a deal with one of Rogers’ rivals. Just desserts in my book.

  2. Yeah, lucky them! While they might not have the support of Apple behind them, at least they are free to use their phones as they choose. I guess I could get an iPhone and hack it to use on other carriers too… Where I am AT&T;connectivity SUCKS, so it would be a waste of money, not to mention that the poor amount of space on them will still require me to keep an iPod. One day tho….

  3. In the UK here, and still holding out for sanity to prevail.

    I do not think that it’s sensible to buy the iPhone in its current state.

    Edge = old tech.
    3G = newer, cooler, cheaper chips around the corner.

    Carrier exclusivity = feck no!

  4. Mike T, at least you have AT&T;service, bad though it may be. In spite of rumors that have yet to pan out, there are still states in the U.S. in which Apple has chosen (by selecting AT&T;) not to sell iPhones. Other countries have it before the U.S. fully does.

  5. Why is MDN putting a semi-colon after A T and T? I note Mike T’s and my post both inserted it even though it wasn’t entered in the first place. Has MDN been drawn into the internationally feared semi-colon conspiracy?

  6. So lighten up about Rogers and buy the stock. An iPhone is after all not a must have item, it is a must want item. Just get an ipod (maybe even a Touché) plus a Rogers Paygo telephone that costs $11.40 a month with tax and let the other guys pay Rogers at outrageous rates.

  7. If it works for Microsoft, it can work for Apple.

    “Contrary to what you may think – Microsoft isn’t losing sleep over the rampant software piracy in China but it’s the other way round.

    The ‘something is better than nothing’ strategy of Bill Gates is that when people in China are pirating so much software, let them pirate software developed by Microsoft -that increases the overall number of Microsoft software users and some of them may eventually convert into paying customers.

    This surprising “pro-piracy” move in China has proved beneficial for Microsoft in the long run and Windows is used on an estimated 90% of China’s 120 million PCs. Fortune Magazine writes:

    Gates argued at the time that while it was terrible that people in China pirated so much software, if they were going to pirate anybody’s software he’d certainly prefer it be Microsoft’s.

    Today Gates openly concedes that tolerating piracy turned out to be Microsoft’s best long-term strategy. That’s why Windows is used on an estimated 90% of China’s 120 million PCs.”


    More insight:

  8. @ Hollywood North

    In Toronto, you can buy a fully unlocked iPhone at one of the many Asian malls just north of the city. I got one for me and my wife on a visit to NYC.


    Fido is the only other GSM network in Canada and they are already staring to implement their 3G network. Unfortunately they were bought by Rogers a few years ago, so essentially they are Rogers. However, they do seem to operate “independently” of Rogers. I’m currently using my iPhone on the Fido network, and now with 1.1.2, the VM notification problems have been fixed.

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