You can buy pretty much everything in China, provided you know exactly where to look – and youtuber Scotty Allen wanted to prove that. So he decided to go on a quest to build his own iPhone 6s entirely from spare parts bought from Chinese street vendors. The end result was – spoiler alert – a like-new device at a cost of about $300, so you might say that the journey was... a 6s.*
Clocking at almost 24 minutes, the video starts entering documentary territory, but is nonetheless a fascinating look into the country's blooming business of unauthorized selling of spare parts. Pretty much everything you'd need to make your own iPhone, from screws to screen digitizers, can be found out in the public markets. Booths with hand-drawn logos of companies like Samsung, Xiaomi, and, of course, Apple, are nestled against each other, selling what turns out to be genuine hardware, albeit sourced from dubious supply chains.
The biggest hurdle in the process was apparently the logic board, which contains a multitude of small separate chips. Ultimately, the man gives up on assembling one of his own due to having trouble soldering everything correctly, as well as simply finding every chip needed to complete the board. Instead, he opts to buy a used one instead, which, curiously enough, is under warranty.
However, don't get too excited about going to China and assembling your own iPhone just yet – while the parts themselves were calculated to cost about $300, this doesn't include all the tools used and broken parts that didn't make it into the device: in fact, the youtuber says he spent "well over $1,000" in the course of the journey. Still, this video is an interesting look at how big the phone industry is in China and what effect it has on everyday life there.
*Joke shamelessly stolen from the video's YouTube comment section