An interesting phenomenon has hit online ‘netizens’ (internet citizens for those not savvy) in China after photos of an iPhone factory worker were found on a British consumer’s handset.

One of the photos, a young woman dressed in a pink striped factory uniform and wearing a matching white cap and rubber gloves, leaning over an iPhone assembly line, has created the most attention.

China’s ‘human flesh search engine’ is apparently in hot pursuit of the unnamed Chinese factory worker, after the consumer posted his find on the MacRumors forum, setting off a global chain reaction of media interest and beginning a quest by Chinese internet users to discover her identity.

The term ‘human flesh search engine’ refers to this type of mob reaction by China’s netizens to pool their collective resources in order to track someone down.

The implications of the hysteria caused by the search for the ‘iPhone girl’ are great for marketers who are looking for new ways to create online consumer interaction.

There were over 20 million searches for the term ‘iPhone girl’ recorded on Google‘s Chinese search site, alone, so if this power could be harnessed toward a client’s campaign the result could be absolutely priceless.