December 6, 2006
Brand Naming: Viagra Vs. "America Number One, Male Exclusive, Great Big Brother”
It’s starting to feel mandatory to write about how brand names we know and love are faring in China.
Alex Zaharov-Reutt, in his Free Access blog, refers to China as “a land of endless factories” which, he tells us, manages to get brand name knock offs out to local consumers so quickly that by the time the real products arrive in stores, they are perceived as fake.
Case in point was the LG Chocolate phone, which came out far too late to be perceived as authentic. A Chinese manufacturer made his own PSP with an embedded cell phone off a rumor that Sony was doing the same. His didn't look exactly like the real thing, which arrived a few months later but nobody seemed to mind - it seems like the Chinese are developing a taste for “fake tech”.
Nowadays, young, rich Chinese shoppers prefer European brands over homegrowns. This has led to a drop in market share of Chinese brand name phones to below 30% for the first time.
That's good news for Nokia and Motorola and bad news for Chinese brands Ningbo Bird and Lenovo. And because overseas brand names are so popular, counterfeiting is likely to continue.
A hair raising blog post on Techdirt points out that we can forget fake Rolexes. There are 3,000 fake companies in Silicon Valley all set up to steal technology and send it to China, as well as counterfeit versions of Japanese electronics giant NEC in China itself.
Many of us are getting ripped off by these people over the Internet, leading Dan Harris on the China Law Blog to remind us that if you find a deal that’s too good to be true online this Christmas (like a $50 iPod or a $100 Wii), you’re probably looking at a scam and your legal recourses are pretty much nothing.
The Chinese authorities are making moves to combat the image the country now has of the land of the fake brand name. They just jailed a man called “The Chinese Sex Pill King” for 8 years for making 60 tons of fake Viagra. The Chinese name was “America Number One, Male Exclusive, Great Big Brother".
The Chinese government also gave somebody a life sentence for pirating 30 million movie disks. Most amusingly, a Chinese province has asked its residents not to wear or use counterfeit brands overseas as “infringement of intellectual property rights in importing and exporting seriously damages the government’s image.”
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