BECAUSE iPhones and iPads have become the hottest electronic products in China, developing and selling accessories for iPhones and iPads has become a new growth industry in Huaqiangbei in Futian District, the country’s biggest electronic products base.
From copycat iPhone cases to the self-developed Apple Peel 520, almost all the products related to Apple Inc. products could be found in Huaqiangbei, attracting clients from all over the world, the Shenzhen Economic Daily reported.
“The main business for many stores is now related to Apple products. The surge in the number of Apple fans has provided a huge market and we also sell a lot of products to clients overseas,” said Wang Hongzhi, owner of Shenzhen Zhichuangda Technology Co. Ltd.
Of all the products, the iPhone case was the most popular. Almost every store on the second and third floors in SEG Electronic Center had iPhone cases. They were made of many materials, such as plastic and wood, and were in different colors.
“Most customers bought at least three at a time and many retailers from other cities also came to buy from us. I could not tell you how much I make a day, but I sell at least 1,000 cases a day to customers from all over the world,” a store owner surnamed Li told the paper.
The most expensive case was made of crystal. “We download pictures from the Internet and stick small crystals on a plastic case by hand very carefully. The wholesale price was 30 yuan (US$4.53) and it can be sold in places such as Dongmen for at least 100 yuan. It is very popular with girls,” said Chen Guang, a store owner in SEG.
Another popular product was the mobile charger for the iPhone. “There are all kinds of mobile chargers for iPhones in Huaqiangbei,” Wang said.
Wang started selling iPhone cases when the iPhone 2G came onto the market in 2008. “When I found that the iPhone had a battery problem, I hired some people to develop mobile chargers for iPhones and I made at least 1 million yuan that year. Apple-related products came to the rescue of a lot of Shenzhen companies that year,” he said.
Of all the products, netizens considered the Apple Peel 520 — developed by two brothers in Shenzhen — the most creative because a small case could change a cheap iTouch into an expensive iPhone. It immediately attracted attention throughout the country when Pan Yong, the developer, uploaded a video about the product on the Internet last year. Several American companies are negotiating with him about future cooperation.
The device cannot be mass produced because of legal problems with Apple Inc., but similar products have already appeared in Huaqiangbei costing much less than Pan’s original device. “I sell it for 500 yuan, but the copycat models cost only 200 yuan. It is very difficult to compete with them and I underestimated the copying ability of Huaqiangbei,” he said.
“Apple-related products are a very good opportunity for electronic companies in Huaqiangbei to make the transition from making cheap, imitated products to self-developed technology. Some companies that used to copy big companies’ products have now opened their own ‘Apple experience stores,’ selling accessories for Apple products developed and made by themselves,” said Li Yi, an electronics expert in Shenzhen. “With the improvement and upgrading of their technology, they will gradually become big brands with their technology and creativity.” (Wang Yuanyuan)