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Electronics Production | May 19, 2010

Shortages makes fake components a booming market

Dan Söderström, regional manager at components distributor Partminer last week held a speech on how the market for fake components works and the problems with it.


One of the places for fake components. Photo Dan Söderström, Partminer.


Dan Söderström discussed this topic on a local electronics industry event in Sweden last week. There is a fully legal market in China for so called “refurbs”. In some cases the buyer know what he gets. For example the components will be used in toys and other products in which function errors of the end product only risks a customer reject.

Fake components are often divided in a number of groups, like Refurbs (components leaded off from the PCB and then refurbished), Pulls (components teared off from the PCB), Scrapped, Counterfeit, Dummies (empty shells), and Remarked components. According to the US government the number of revealed cases involving any of the mentioned components was 4000 in 2005, increasing to 9000 in 2008. Most components were found in China, Malaysia and India.

Enormous shortages on components started to rise when many of the global EMS-providers started to open up facilities in China for about 10 years ago. This made way for a huge gray market in the industrial city of Shenzhen, close to Hongkong. Dan Söderström, who has visited a market for fake components in Shenzehn, showed some pictures on a complex of buildings in the city, only for the local market, where customers could buy all kinds of fake components. Several departments marketed the different brand names and the commerce was lively.

“To use an authorized supplier is not an absolute guarantee not to receive fake components, because that supplier can be fooled as well”, Dan Söderström said and recommend buyers to always agree with the supplier on terms of responsibility before making a purchase.

A serious buyer today uses ultra sound and X-ray equipment to check the components. “Ask for warranty terms of 30, 60 or 90 days and avoid suppliers that are not ISO-certified, Dan Söderström said. “The current situation of allocations makes it a golden moment for the fake component makers, Dan Söderström concluded.


Delivery of fake components.

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