Shanzhai | 山寨 is a kind of innovation, ingenuity, craziness, imitation and piracy merged into product design. Shenzhen as the electronics workshop of the world is often considered to be the spiritual home of shanzhai, but its real origin is the ingenuity of the tinkerer and the often latent creativity in the engineer.
This shanzhai business has become just as global as the major consumer brands. I took the picture above with my iPhone of a window display from one of the electronics shops on Tottenham Court Road. The label washed out on the picture but described the phone as:
Vertu Ferrari edition dual SIM good condition
If you look online you’ll see these phones described with language such as replica, but the ‘good condition’ phrase looked as if they they trying to pass the phone off as real, but secondhand. Who are the real crooks? The guys that make these ‘replica’ phones or the shopkeepers who take liberties with their product description?