Fake chinese electronics selling better than the originals
By Alex Zaharov-Reutt
It’s a funny old world. Chinese manufacturers are copying the circuit boards and designs of products from Japan and Korea, and they’re doing it so fast that by the time the originals arrive in the marketplace, they’re seen as the fakes!
China is a land of endless factories, with many pumping out the world’s most desirable gadgets, from iPods to portable computers to digital cameras and much more. But with so much electronics smarts to hand, the pirate electronics industry is very active.
Two reports on the Internet, here and here, have indicated that Chinese electronics pirates have been very busy, churning out excellent copies of LG’s Chocolate phone right down to the glowing touch-controlled keypad and smooth sliding action.
LG took so long to get a Chinese version ready, that by the time they launched theirs into the market, the copied Chinese version had been on sale for so long that LG’s phone was seen as the fake item copying the ‘original’ Chinese version.
Another example is the PSP. Rumoured to be coming out with in a version that contains a standard GSM mobile phone, a Chinese manufacturer came out with a phone that looks very much like a PSP, although not as wide, with a stack of pirated Nintendo games thrown in for good measure to beef up its gaming credentials, even if those games have been shamelessly ripped off from Nintendo.
Plenty of other goods, both electronic and otherwise, are routinely copied in China. Everything from designer clothes, handbags, Mont Blanc and other brand pens, expensive cars, golf clubs, jewellery, sports shoes (sneakers), many modern toys including many of the robots in the ‘Robosapien’ series and plenty more including CDs and DVDs is freely available from ‘markets’ all over China, and if you know where to look, at markets in Hong Kong, too.
The cars may not be so easily accessible from the markets, indeed that’s the one place you won’t find them, but the rest of the products are much more easily transportable and copyable that it’s no surprise they are widely available.
The electronics market is just the latest frontier, with costs of electronics production so low in China. Many of these products will not officially make it out of China, but will be smuggled out to appear in stores across Asia, and in likely much smaller quantities to first world Western countries.
The piracy of electronics is nothing new. In the 90s, I clearly remember fake Panasonic DVD players marked as ‘Panesoic’, a brand name so ridiculous only the incredibly dimwitted would mistake it for the original.
But sell these products do, especially in Asia where the prices are low, few questions are asked and in many cases, the quality is actually pretty good.
Samsung is said to have been so concerned by seeing its phones copied on the Chinese market that it tracked the distribution channels back to the source and discovered the electronics guys responsible for copying their latest products.
After offering them a job with Samsung and a chance to go legitimate, they are reported to have declined the offer, saying that they were able to make more money by simply continuing in their pirate ways. What Samsung did next is not known.
Eventually China will crack down on the blatant piracy seen on its shores, but until then, the world will keep on seeing ever more creative and ever better quality copies from Chinese manufacturers, along with complete duds that should definitely be avoided and products of varying quality everywhere in between.
What a funny old world we live in, where people will do almost anything and copy almost anything to make, or save, a buck.