This year seems to have yielded an unusually high number of crazy China/Apple stories. I mentioned during one of the latest that I might even assemble the best ones into some kind of feature, and hey – that’s what I’m doing right now.
As ever, these stories appear in no particular order. That’s partly due to writing at one million miles per hour as my deadline looms, and partly because it’s just too damn hard to pick a favourite.
Credit to this one for giving me the feature idea. Thanks, you crazy guys.
What’s marginally better than a fake iPhone? That’s right, a fake iPhone with lots of genuine Apple components inside! That’s exactly what a team of five entrepreneurs (as I like to call them) decided to build.
Sourcing components from Guangdong, the team assembled fake iPhones for 2,000 CNY and sold them for 4,000 CNY, just a wee bit higher than the real deal.
Alas, they got caught, but the police seemed impressed with their handiwork. "It's really hard for customers to distinguish the fake ones from the genuine ones," observed one Chinese cop.
Fake iPhones mightn’t sound particularly audacious, not for a country like China (er, no offense, China). So how does an entire fake Apple store sound?!
An American blogger blew the lid on this bad boy after returning from a trip away from her home neighbourhood of Kunming. When she got back, no less than three Apple stores had mysteriously popped up. Good times!
However, closer inspection suggested all was not as it seemed.
There were signs saying “Apple Store” (Apple never uses the word “Store”), there was a worryingly shoddy staircase, and the employees all had a generic nametag simply reading: “Staff”.
Chinese cops were said to have investigated over 300 stores. Some were authorised resellers, but a handful were found to be balls-out fakes.
Amazing. You just don’t get that kind of bravado on the UK highstreet.
It’d be a sad enough story if a little Chinese kid sold his musical organ in order to get iPad money. Creativity should always be encouraged, and gadgets are just gadgets.
Sadder still when the organ that’s sold is in fact a fully functioning kidney.
Some agents hooked up the 17 year-old student, Zheng, with a hospital willing to rip out his kidney for no good medical reason. The Chinese police were later unable to track down said agents as their mobiles were off. Lame.
Zheng’s mom recalls how she rumbled him: “When he came back, he had a laptop and a new Apple handset. I wanted to know how he had got so much money and he finally confessed that he had sold one of his kidneys."
It doesn’t matter how many times you read it, that last sentence doesn’t get any less surreal.
I think this story might actually be more disturbing than the kidney one. Hell, they’re both pretty bad.
Back in June, a young Chinese girl used Weibo, a Chinese Twitter variant, to tell followers that her dad wouldn’t let her get an iPhone 4. Boo hoo.
So the girl decided to take matters into her own hands, offering – I wish I was joking here – to exchange her virginity for an iPhone 4.
There were suggestions that the account was a fake, or at the very least that it had been hacked. Let’s bloody hope so, for that girl’s sake.