In 2015, Xinmin Evening News reports, a local resident stumbled on a business opportunity. Two years later, he recruited three others and even managed to get a round of investment, allowing him to expand the scope of his growing company. There was just one problem: his business was based on iPhone warranty fraud.

A recent verdict by a Shanghai court has landed the main culprit, identified only by the surname Wei, with 10.5 years of jail time and an RMB 100,000 fine. His three partners received similar sentences of 10 years’ imprisonment and RMB 80,000 each in fines, while 20 others received lesser punishments for being accessories to the crime.

The fines may not seem like much, however, considering that in a 1.5-month span from September through October last year, Wei’s company managed to exchange 154 modified used iPhones for new models in Shanghai and Jiangsu, making over 640,000 yuan in sales by undercutting Apple prices.

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Bailey Hu

Bailey Hu is based in China’s hardware capital, Shenzhen. Her interests include local maker culture, grassroots innovation and how tech shapes society, as well as vice versa.