Company behind Beijing iPhone ban ‘barely exists’

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Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 20.15.35
The budget smartphone that allegedly inspired the iPhone 6.
Photo: Baili

A Chinese company that managed to secure a ban on the iPhone in Beijing “barely exists,” according to a new report. All traces of Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services Co. have disappeared, including its websites.

It has been just five days since the ban was handed down by a Beijing regulator, which decided that the iPhone 6 series infringed smartphone design patents held by Baili and parent company Digione. Now both entities have all but vanished.

“Phone calls to the company, Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services Co., ring unanswered,” reports The Wall Street Journal“Its websites have been deleted. Visits to its three registered addresses found no company offices.”

Baili first picked a fight against Apple in December 2014, and at the time, it had big investment from Chinese internet behemoth Baidu, respected executives, and big plans for success in the smartphone business.

But when Digione first secured its victory over Apple last month, the company had already imploded. Fierce competition and poor products contributed to its demise, and the company hasn’t released a new device for over a year.

Apple has already appealed the ban on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and the order has been stayed in the meantime. This allows the Cupertino company to continue selling these devices to customers in Beijing for the time being.

Digione and Baili are now insolvent, WSJ adds, “their debt exceeding their total assets, according to the companies’ annual financial reports.” However, Baili may still be back to take aim at the iPhone 6s series, according to Digione lawyer Andy Yang.

Former employees of Digione claim the lawsuit against the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus was always a marketing ploy, intended to bring attention to Baili and its own devices. But the company no longer needs that attention.