Chinese iPhone, Samsung, Motorola knockoffs use creative spelling

A display case of phony iPhones and other smartphones at an electronics bazaar in Shanghai.
(David Sarno / Los Angeles Times)

Everyone knows Apple is popular in China -- so popular that people riot outside Apple’s stores, or set up fake stores, or just crank out fake iPhones.

On a recent trip to an electronics bazaar in Shanghai, we spotted a few of the most blatant of these knockoffs. Amusingly, the phones on display didn’t look anything like actual iPhones -- instead, the manufacturers concentrated their piracy efforts on attempting to replicate the spelling of the names of popular devices and brands.

Those efforts went humorously awry, as pictured above and to the left:

For the iPhone: IPhnce and iPneno.


For Motorola: Motoralo and Motcrolv.

For Samsung: Smusvng.

For Nokia: Nioka.

For those wondering, Changchong is an actual Chinese electronics and smartphone maker, although “Chanchong” is not. Speaking of Apple knockoffs, Changchong recently announced its plans for its “Ciri smart voice TV,” which includes the following flourish in the product description: “There is a intangible fairy in the smart TV, after the consumers buy Ciri TV, they not only get a actual TV, but also get a lovely and functional family member.”


Although China is a font of funny mispellings and translations, it bears mentioning that electronics piracy is not all fun and games. Besides the obvious issues of intellectual property theft, phone fakery may have led to at least one violent death. A Shanghai online publication reported that a man stabbed someone to death after getting in an altercation over the sale of fake iPhones.


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