More than £2 million worth of counterfeit mobile phones and accessories are sold in the UK each year.
Around 200,000 counterfeit mobile products, cheap imitations of products by the ‘big five’ manufacturers, were seized in the UK last year, many made in sophisticated underground factories in China and Hong Kong.
Handsets and accessories are adorned with big brand logos to satisfy the consumer desire for headline devices at low prices. Most arrive in the UK by air, not ship, escaping border inspections by HM Revenue and Customs.
Once in the country, fake goods find their way to market stalls, discount stores and websites such as eBay.
According to Ruth Orchard, chairperson of the Manchester-based UK Anti-Counterfeit Group, often it is only the low price or the sale location that gives away the true identity of the product.
Orchard says: “Some copies are frighteningly good in appearance; you wouldn’t be able to tell they were fakes.
“The fact these factories can make phones that work at all is amazing. They have their own engineering systems and product lines. The amount of investment and creativity put into these operations is staggering.”
Full story in Mobile News