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$400 iPhone 4S Clone Takes the Chinese Market by Storm

A smartphone that looks just like the coveted iPhone 4S, but $250 cheaper, has been launched amid exuberant scenes just a couple of weeks before Apple's latest iPhone is released on the Chinese mainland, NTD TV reports.

The Meizu MX was released to the first enthusiastic customers in Hong Kong before being introduced in stores across China. More than 300 hundred fans queued in front of the Meizu store in order to be among the first owners of the new smartphone.

For $400 the Meizu MX could be easily mistaken for an iPhone 4S from its exterior, however, on the inside the hardware is different from Apple's handset and the user interface is also not similar to the top-of-the-range iPhone.

Carl Pei, Marketing Supervisor at Meizu, explained the success of Meizu MX: "the average salary in China isn't that high right now. So this is definitely more affordable than some of the other more mainstream phones in the market right now. But at the same time we don't sacrifice on specifications."

Analysts point out that smaller companies cannot compete with giants like Samsung and Apple, since they don't have the same scale of production to drive down costs. At the same time they differentiate themselves by appealing to the lower-end mass market in countries like China, which means margins are very tight.