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Copycats profit from death of Steve Jobs with fake iPhone covers

(Global Times)

13:22, October 11, 2011

The copycat industry has quickly discovered how to turn a profit from Steve Jobs' death as Apple fans all over the world mourn the company's co-founder, who died on October 5. Such a profit-driven move has also aroused a controversy.

The Huangqiangbei commercial area in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, has seen the boom of four kinds of mobile phone covers bearing the image of Jobs. Wholesalers are flocking to local factories to get their hands on these covers, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily.

On taobao.com, China's largest online retailer, there are more than 10 kinds of iPhone 4 covers made especially to commemorate Jobs. The prices for the covers range from 20 to 198 yuan ($31).

"Some factories began to make the covers on the same day that Jobs' death was announced. We got the first batch of products from a factory the next day," a salesman in Shenzhen told the paper.

An employee at a Beijing Apple store told the Global Times that Apple has not made such legitimate iPhone covers for the moment. "The products on sale are fakes. This time, these factories have a quicker draw on the market than Apple".

Mocks of Jobs' symbolic outfit – a black sweater he usually wore during press conferences, have also become popular recently.

The sweater's manufacture, the Minnesota-based St Croix company, saw sales of the item double since Jobs' death.

According to St Croix's website, it is temporarily out of stock of the black sweater.

An online store owner surnamed Chen told the Global Times that copies of the sweater are selling for 39 yuan ($6) a piece since going on sale on Monday. "I do the business to show my great respect for the world famous IT scientist who worked in the same field as me," said Chen.

Xiao Menggui, a fan of Apple products, said to the Global Times that she would buy such products for commemoration purposes without considering if they are fakes or not.

"Jobs was not only an artist but also a miracle worker. I feel sorry to see such a genius leave us," she said. "Moreover, I think it will be a fashion to buy souvenirs about him."

However, some observers give another angle on the business move, saying that it may give an impression that Chinese businessmen are capitalizing on Jobs' death.

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