Counterfeit Electronics

News and statistics about fake technology products and fake electronic goods. Data about the counterfeit electronics are collected from criminal justice programs, security agencies, safety officials and other public information sources.

An estimated $1.5 Billion (6 Billion Saudi Riyal) in counterfeit electronics are sold in Saudi Arabia each year, according to the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

A seller of a counterfeit good in the Kingdom reportedly makes a profit of 200 percent due to its illegal orgins, while the seller of the legitimate item generates a profit of 15 percent.

Source:  “SR 6 bn fake goods are sold annually,” Arab Times, March 29, 2013.

During the 2012 Holiday Season, the Consumer Fraud Center estimates  between $110 Million to $140 Million worth of counterfeit goods were sold on

A popular hair-straighter company is filling a lawsuit against the shopping website claiming that over 20,000 fake hair-straighteners have been sold on its website that have violated their trademark.

Source:  “Customers Get Burned By Counterfeit Goods From Amazon’s Marketplace,” CBS Los Angeles, February 18, 2013.

The Government of Kenya stated that counterfeit electricity cables in the country is costing the economy almost $1 Billion in lost revenue.

In addition to the economic impact, 275 people died from exploding counterfeit cable wires and components in 2012.

Source:  Humphrey Liloba, “Kenya: Fight Against Counterfeit Trade Rages On,” AllAfrica, February 11, 2013.


According to a study by a supply chain management consultancy, the number of suppliers to the United States Government that are considered “high-risk” has increased by 63 percent over a ten year period.

In 2011, investigators found 9,539 companies that were banned from doing business with the federal government had sold technology to federal agencies. Roughly 10 percent of these incidents involved counterfeit parts or equipment.

The report by IHS stated that the number of counterfeit technology parts in the market quadrupled between 2009 and 2011.

(See our ranking of counterfeit goods.)

Source:  David Goldman, “Fake tech gear has infiltrated the U.S. government,” CNN Money, November 8, 2012.

From 2011 to October 2012, authorities in the United Arab Emirates has seized over 2 million counterfeit HP supplies in the country.

Across the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa region, HP has seized nearly 8 million counterfeit products and supplies.

Source:  “UAE raises pressure on counterfeiters, apprehends repeat offender of fake supplies for HP printers,”, October 17, 2012.

A legitimate iPhone 5 is sold in retail stores in Vietnam for $959 (20 Million Vietnamese Dong). A counterfeit version of the iPhone5 made in China is available for purchase in Vietnam for $28 (600,000 VND). A counterfeit version of the iPhone 4S is available for $43 (900,000 VND).

There are other types of counterfeit smartphones and tablets available for sale in Vietnam. A legitimate Nokia N9 smartphone retails for $479 (10 Million VND). The counterfeit version of the smartphone is sold for 471 (1.5 Million VND).

A Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet is sold in retail stores for $767 (16 Million VND). The counterfeit version of the tablet, called the A9-3G, is sold for $43 (4.4 Million VND).

Source:  “Chinese counterfeit smart phones dirt cheap, but unsalable,” VietnamNet Bridge, October 9, 2012.

48 percent of the population of Uganda has mobile phones. Of those that have mobile phones, up to 30 percent of those phones are counterfeit.

The counterfeit phones in Uganda causes an estimated $6 Million  (15 Billion Uganda Shilling) loss of tax revenue each year.

Source: Aloysious Kasoma, “Uganda: Fake Mobile Phones Glut Local Market,” All Africa, August 11, 2012.

According to research firm Arc Chart, up to 150 million counterfeit mobile phones are estimated to created and shipped out to customers in 2013. The number of fake phones will make up to 7 percent of the total mobile phone market in 2013, and make up to 15 percent of the mobile phone market in Asia.

The cost of make a counterfeit iPhone in China is reported to be about $300. The sellers then offer the counterfeit phone to customers for around $600.

Source:  Karen Haslam, “Apple’s China Challenge: Fighting Counterfeiters,” PCWorld, July 7, 2012.

64 percent of counterfeit electronics sold to consumers in the United States takes place in legitimate retail stores, according to Gallop consulting and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Worldwide, counterfeit electronics chips and semiconductors creates a loss of $169 Billion to the electronic industry.

(Latest counterfeiting statistics.)

Source:  Jayne O’Donnell, “Counterfeit products are a growing, and dangerous, problem,” USA Today, June 5, 2012.

The United States Navy estimates that up to 15 percent of all replacement electric circuits and spare parts bought by the entire US Military to be counterfeit.

The United States Senate previously reported that 70 percent of counterfeit electronics sold to the US Military was traced back to China.

Source:  InnovationNewsDaily, “US Missile Defense Seeks Fix for Counterfeits,” LiveScience, May 11, 2012.