The death last week of 23-year-old Ma Ailun, who was allegedly electrocuted while answering a call on her iPhone, is thought to be linked to a non-Apple charger, CNET reported Thursday.
In an interview with Chinese news outlet CCTV, phone expert Xiang Ligang suggested the charger may have had fewer safety measures built into its hardware, causing it to fail.
The incident was originally believed to involve Apple's latest iPhone 5 model, but the device was an iPhone 4 released in mid-2010, CCTV said.
Third-party chargers are commonplace, many of them designed to cosmetically look like a genuine item from Apple.
In March, Underwriters Laboratory issued a warning to consumers and retailers about counterfeit Apple USB power adapters being sold.
The incident is still under investigation by both Apple and local authorities.