Nagpur, a city in central India, has started to cut the network access of some mobile phones without an International Mobile Equipment Identity, and Chinese "shanzhai" mobile phone manufacturers are reportedly those that are most affected.
The word "shanzhai" or "shanzai", literally meaning "remote village" in Cantonese, has become a popular name for Chinese fakes and the slang now refers to anything that steals ideas or styles from already well-known products, personalities or concepts. According to media reports in India, there are currently 25 million mobile phones without IMEIs in India, and most of them are from shanzhai manufacturers in China. The Indian government's move is expected to bring a strong impact to these manufacturers.
An IMEI is a unique 15-digit code that identifies each mobile phone. Each time a call is made, the telecommunications company uses the IMEI to identify the caller via a universal registry of phones. If a phone lacks an IMEI, the telecommunications company can still route the number to the destination, but it does not know which phone is making the call. Chinese-made shanzhai phones lack the all-important IMEI number.
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