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April 28, 2009

The American public is just starting to wake up to the existence of the Hi-Phone, the iPhone that’s not quite an iPhone.


A shanzai phone at

Welcome to the world of shanzai, a skill once perfected by the Japanese. That piece of action has now found its way to the backlanes of China’s industrial cities, the main source of swarms of shanzai phones.

Shanzai is a term meant to suggest rebels or bandits, a name that people stick on anything counterfeit. You can buy shanzais of any brand. Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, whatever.

Aren’t we Asians innovative. πŸ™‚ All we need is 10 guys, a bit of money and some backyard contacts in Shenzen to cobble together an iPhone lookalike. Knock-off street price: US$100-150. Factory cost: $39.56 according to this NYT report.

The game at that level is not about technology. Its about how fast you can react to and capitalize on new trends.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2009 2:20 pm

    Asians are innovative but not creative 😦 except Japanese.

    I kinda like Chinese classical paintings though. πŸ™‚

  2. April 28, 2009 5:28 pm

    I wonder what OS is it running on.

    Could be something supplied by Mediatek?

  3. April 29, 2009 10:35 am

    Actually, this could be the beginning of something big. πŸ˜› Someone should just acquire these small companies, give them more money n time to research, and then produce something of HIGH quality (no bribes pls….). I bet we can start hearing complaints from the US by then πŸ˜€

    That would require backyard industries to go from mere assemblers to real innovators. I have the impression they’re more into leeching off the success of big brands than actually creating one.

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