iPhone 5 copycat 'HiPhone 5' available in China

The price of the device varies depending on how "genuine" the smartphone copy is, according to a report from Reuters. And are also versions in red and pink.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
The HiPhone 5 comes in multiple colors.
The HiPhone 5 comes in multiple colors. Taobao

Although you might be waiting for the iPhone 5, some folks in China have already gotten their hands on a wannabe copycat.

The country's top online-retail company, Taobao, is selling the "HiPhone 5" to customers for 210 yuan ($33). The device seems to feature a design similar to that of both the black and the white iPhone 4, but it also comes in red and pink.

That option, however, is apparently the "cheap" version of the device. According to Reuters, citing a report in China's Metro Express paper, some shop owners are selling "genuine" HiPhone 5 devices that reflect the rumored features of Apple's upcoming iPhone 5, including a slimmed-down design and rounded edges. The more-expensive versions can retail for as much as 850 yuan ($132).

Related stories:
iPhone 5 rumor roundup
Welcome to the Apple store that isn't
iPhone 5: 20 most-wanted features

China has long been criticized as a home for faked electronics. The HiPhone, for example, has been around for years now. In 2008, a version of the device was made available that closely resembled Apple's iPhone 3G. The packaging for the devices also mimicked that of Apple's.

In this case, the HiPhone 5 has beaten the actual iPhone 5 to store shelves. Over the last several months, there's been a constant rumbling of rumors suggesting that the purported next version of Apple's smartphone could launch in September or October. Some rumors claim that the new smartphone will come with major updates, including an edge-to-edge display. But as in the past, Apple has not given any indication of what any new device might offer or when it might launch.

The HiPhone 5's arrival follows last month's reports of fake Apple Stores cropping up in China. The stores featured Apple logos, products, and a layout that matched the iPhone maker's real retail outlets. Just yesterday, however, China Daily reported that Beijing was cracking down on the stores by banning the unauthorized retailers from using Apple's logos or products for advertising purposes.

Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.