Online images of the man show him covered in dozens of handsets, held together under his outer clothes with cling-film and masking tape, with commentators comparing him to comic superhero Iron Man.
He was held in the southern city of Shenzhen as he tried to enter from neighbouring Hong Kong with his hidden cargo, the People's Daily said on Monday.
The former British colony is controlled by Beijing but maintains separate trade rules from the mainland under the "One country, two systems" principle.
"When the person passed through the metal detector gate, it made a loud and clear alarm," the report said.
Despite being made in China, iPhones are relatively expensive in the country, with many users having to sign up to long-term contracts with mobile companies, and there is a thriving trade in informal imports from Hong Kong.
Netizens on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo labelled the man "Apple Man", using a Chinese character commonly used for superheroes, particularly Marvel's Iron Man.
"I just keep thinking this guy is trying to imitate Iron Man," one commented on Tuesday.
Source: AFP, via I-Net Bridge
For more than two decades, I-Net Bridge has been one of South Africa’s preferred electronic providers of innovative solutions, data of the highest calibre, reliable platforms and excellent supporting systems. Our products include workstations, web applications and data feeds packaged with in-depth news and powerful analytical tools empowering clients to make meaningful decisions.
We pride ourselves on our wide variety of in-house skills, encompassing multiple platforms and applications. These skills enable us to not only function as a first class facility, but also design, implement and support all our client needs at a level that confirms I-Net Bridge a leader in its field.Go to: http://www.inet.co.za