WikiLeaks reveals Apple's struggle against Chinese counterfeits

Apple's efforts to counteract counterfeit gadgets in the east are being hampered by local authorities, according to a report released by Wikileaks. Despite the manpower Apple has dedicated to a security team for specifically dealing with the issue, Chinese officials remain unconvinced that the situation is of high importance. According to a CNN report, China has also refused Apple's requests to investigate facilities it believes are involved in the trade.

The attitude contradicts the mood during previous crackdowns. The security team itself is made up of former Pfizer employees, a pharmaceutical company tackling fake Viagra distribution. In the case of medicine, people's health is at risk from fake drugs, so tackling the issue was a top priority. Apple has a weaker defense here, as it's hard to argue that fake products affect the public in such a direct way. However, Apple argues, counterfeit gadgets are more susceptible to battery explosions, and the lost tax revenue would be bad for a healthy economy.

Although Wikileaks is known for releasing classified documents, the reports in question weren't technically classified. Beijing authorities merely stated that internet distribution was not advisable, dubbing the papers as "sensitive". An April 2009 cable paints more of a picture on China's relationship with Apple, when the government refused to look into a facility stating that it would endanger local jobs. Chinese officials also refused to raid a shop in Guangdong, out of fear that it would scare off potential shoppers.

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21 Comments

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I wonder if this only for the device or even includes counterfeit accessories like headphone and chargers etc that they sell at the enormous price. People may still buy original i<whatever> but barely anyone these days (thanks to ebay) buy apple accessories.

I think Apple does a good job of exploding batteries and overheating products even without the counterfeiters.

I think apple is worrying too much over something so small, I"m sure ipad, iphone or i<whatever> knockoffs will be a lot cheaper than the real deal but quality control is usually absent or very low with knockoffs, not to mention the lack of support, the large majority of people that buy these cheap devices would probably never have bought an apple product in the first place.
I bought a chinese les paul copy off ebay a few years ago, if you look it over you would swear it was the real deal, however once you plug it in the similarity to the custom model that costs around $3500 disappears completely.

I agree with you. I doubt counterfeit Apple products are really hurting Apple's bottom line. The people who buy these things don't expect much and would probably not have bought the Apple product in the first place. Apple is wasting their time and energy banging their head against a great wall.

Order_66 said,
I think apple is worrying too much over something so small, I"m sure ipad, iphone or i<whatever> knockoffs will be a lot cheaper than the real deal but quality control is usually absent or very low with knockoffs, not to mention the lack of support, the large majority of people that buy these cheap devices would probably never have bought an apple product in the first place.
I bought a chinese les paul copy off ebay a few years ago, if you look it over you would swear it was the real deal, however once you plug it in the similarity to the custom model that costs around $3500 disappears completely.

You'll feel differently if you buy one unsuspecting of it being a fake.

SpyderCanopus said,

You'll feel differently if you buy one unsuspecting of it being a fake.

I would be angry if i purchased an ipad at best buy and discovered it was fake but if I purchased one on ebay and the seller is from china then I could only be ****ed at myself.

"However, Apple argues, counterfeit gadgets are more susceptible to battery explosions, and the lost tax revenue would be bad for a healthy economy."

LOL. Grasp at a few more straws why don't you, Apple.

ahhell said,
"However, Apple argues, counterfeit gadgets are more susceptible to battery explosions, and the lost tax revenue would be bad for a healthy economy."

LOL. Grasp at a few more straws why don't you, Apple.

Perhaps they need some doctored evidence to get this ball rollin'

However, Apple argues, counterfeit gadgets are more susceptible to battery explosions, and the lost tax revenue would be bad for a healthy economy

What about the lost tax revenue for manufacturing the phones in China instead of the US?

Hypocritical Apple....

LauRoman said,

What about the lost tax revenue for manufacturing the phones in China instead of the US?

Hypocritical Apple....

have to consider that if these products were made in the same quanities where Apple would have to deal with labor unions and safety, Apple wouldn't make any money becayuse the products would not only not be affordable, they would be unlike what we have now.

Making crap in China makes things cheap bec Apple doesn't have to deal with saftey hazards. Chinese have so mnay people on the assembly line, that if ones dies another can fill in very easily. I mean there are over 1B people in Shanghai alone, a few deaths arent a bad idea...right?


The USA cares about its people. Thats why be have ferdales laws an protection agencies. If we didn't, imagine how many peopel would die for the "bottom line"

Let me give 2 examples - The FDA - They are designed to protect us by providing machinery that san food against contaminates that make you sick or can kill you when eaten. A company that produces hot dogs have a know contaminate in this type of food processing. The company turned off a sensor that detact a common bacteria in hot dogs. Why? They said the sensor keep going off and they didn't understand why, so they turned it off. Subsequent release of tones of hot dogs were sold that were contaminated.

FAA - Some of America largest airports have huge air traffic. O'Hare is the worlds busiest at a plane landing and taking off every minute of the clock. If theer was no FAA, imagine forst how many planes woudl get hijacked, how many more close calls there would be and how many more people would die from planes not being properly inspected. How about recent problems with the planes cabin just ripping open. The same thing that doomed a planed once an killed several people. Companies dont care about you, theycare about money. They dont care if they kill you to get that money as long as they made the sale.

This crap Apple is talking noils down too, them making sure they get their money. if people sell counterfeit iProducts, this would be equal to all the chinese using Windows XP and not payign for it. Its lose revenue for Apple. Bec basically these supply chances coudl produce extra items to be sold on thsi market and Apple wont get the money, the supplier will.

LauRoman said,

What about the lost tax revenue for manufacturing the phones in China instead of the US?

Hypocritical Apple....

I agree with your sentiment 100%. We would be better off if our cell phone parts and assembly was all done locally.

However, I think Apple was address Chinese tax revenue lost.

TechieXP said,
I mean there are over 1B people in Shanghai alone
There are 1.3 billion people in all of China. Shanghai is not housing and employing even close to 77% of their population.

According to the Wikipedia article on Shanghai, there are around 23 million people there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai#Population

Apple currently makes massive profit margins compared to industry standards. The serious problem for all computer makers is that China currently controls a huge proportion of the rare earth minerals that go into a lot of computer components, which makes manufacturing outside of mainland China more expensive. Compounded with the price of American labor, especially if they chose to go with a union state, and I can partially understand Apple's non-American made hardware. With that said, I would absolutely pay an even greater Apple premium for quality computer hardware made in the United States, thus supporting the US economy and not a nervously powerful and evil foreign power that quite clearly does not care for its people.

I have constantly hoped that they would use a lot of their $70+ billion war chest to setup a factory or two within the confines of the US to build computers here. Unfortunately, I just do not think that they will do it any time soon.

That's one reason I like Intel: they have a lot of their factories in the United States.

LauRoman said,

What about the lost tax revenue for manufacturing the phones in China instead of the US?

Hypocritical Apple....


I have only 1 word, actually 4 words to say: karma is a bitch.