Almost all phones including the iPhones are made in China. The question is are the phone made in China or Poorly made in China. If the phone comes from a reputed brand like Micromax, Lava, Spice or Karbonn, you can be sure that the phone has some decent quality. Though Micromax and Lava might be procuring the model from the same Chinese or Taiwanese vendor. There are lot of nameless phones which are sold in India. These phones usually come with dual SIM capability, in-built TV and so on and they usually cost something south of Rs. 3K. This is a huge market. These are direct Chinese imports or the so-called Shanzai imports and are continuing at a rapid pace.
God made us humans and the rest I believe is “Made in China” — Unknown
Shanzai is a term to refer Chinese imitation products and pirated brands. Anything from a Nike shoe to an iPad, is imitated, manufactured and exported to the rest of the world. Mobile phones are the most easiest of all. Government of India has ‘cracked down’ on the phones coming out of China. IMEI number is a 15 digit number which every phone is imprinted with if it is coming through a proper export-import channel. If it doesn’t then it will not have a IMEI number. Looks like the operators have been lax in implementing the ban, for the fear of losing customers. The result?
Unbranded Chinese phones imports have grown to 90% from 2009-10 levels. 20 million units were imported in 2009-10. The current year figure is at a staggering 38 million handsets or 3.5 million phones per month. This is hurting the local economy. Since all are Chinese made phones what difference does it really make? For unbranded phones the profits directly go to the Shanzai manufacturers and some brave pirates. For the branded phones companies like Micromax and Spice stand to benefit and will help them in getting their companies listed.
If Nokia had Micromax to worry then Micromax has Shanzai to worry. The trend is going to continue unless India takes an action to improve on manufacturing and reverse the trend. Someone has said “it’s cheaper to export plastic pellets to China and import plastic buckets back”. China’s manufacturing prowess is insurmountable. At least an attempt should be made by India to bring down that dominance.