from the the-iphone-cycle dept.
Ponca City, We Love You writes "Factories in China produce iPhones that are exported to the United States and Europe and then smuggled right back in helping explain why Apple says it sold about 3.7 million iPhones last year while only 2.3 million are actually registered in the United States and Europe. For Apple, the booming overseas market for iPhones is a sign of its marketing prowess but also a blow to Apple's business model, costing the company as much as $1 billion over the next three years, according to some analysts. Since negotiations between Apple and China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile-phone service operator with more than 350 million subscribers, broke down last month, the official release of the iPhone in China has been stalled producing a thriving gray market. Copycat models are another possible threat to Apple in China. Not long after the iPhone was released, research and development teams in China were taking it apart, trying to copy or steal the design and software for use in iPhone knockoffs, or iClones and some people who have used the clones say they are sophisticated and have many functions that mimic the iPhone. "A lot of people here want to get an iPhone," says Shanghai lawyer Conlyn Chan."
"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers."
-- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a
particularly vivid fantasy)