Cheaper iPad Knock-offs Thrive in China

The iPad’s official international launch may have been delayed until the end of May, but citizens of or travelers to China can get their mitts on the (almost) next best thing courtesy of a flourishing bootleg electronics market.

Just north of Hong Kong lies the city of Shenzhen, notorious for its sales of counterfeit versions of popular gadgets like the iPhone, game consoles, and now the iPad. Reuters reports that pirated versions of Apple’s new tablet can be had for about 2,800 yuan or $410 USD, cheaper than the official counterpart.

One version shown had three USB ports and ran Windows (), but it’s “just the first rough version,” said the shop owner. “Eventually, the factories will be able to make a much better copy.” Meanwhile, given Shenzhen’s reputation, no one seems much surprised at the quick turnaround behind a growing selection of “alternative” iPads in China: “China is basically a market that has the ability to clone everything,” said Beijing-based researcher Edward Yu, CEO of Analysis International.

If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then Shenzhen in its own way pays excessive tribute to Apple’s new “magical” gadget. Would you ever consider a knock-off version of a new gadget, or are bootlegs best reserved for fragrances and live Phish tapes?


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