Sunday, October 29, 2017

Forbes: Amazon And Ebay Opened Pandora's Box Of Chinese Counterfeits And Now Don't Know What To Do


Perhaps of interest as the holiday season approaches:
The versatility of grassroots Chinese manufacturing is something that is truly awesome... What they make on any given day is often a crap shoot — the workers come in, are handed photocopied instructions of whatever it is they will be making, and then they go and make it... 
And as Chinese counterfeiters often use the exact same photos and descriptions or even list on the same page as the original product, it is often impossible for the end consumer to tell the difference between a real and a fake before buying (and sometimes even after they never know).... 
Previously, counterfeits were items that were predominately sold on street corners, from the interiors of trench coats, underground markets, or in under-regulated developing countries, but now they are being positioned on the high streets of the internet, right next to -- and occasionally supplanting -- the genuine items... 
- Amazon And Ebay Opened Pandora's Box Of Chinese Counterfeits And Now Don't Know What To Do, Forbes <https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2017/10/28/amazon-and-ebay-opened-pandoras-box-of-chinese-counterfeits-and-now-dont-know-what-to-do/2/#746927dd2270>  



9 comments:

  1. Years before the "Chinese manufacturing boom", a friend of mine from Taiwan asked me why Western people became so upset about copied/fraudulent products By his telling, it was traditional business practice in Taiwan to seek out the most desirable product or service to copy it and thus undersell the competition. He said that Western "copyright" laws were viewed as self-granted entitlement and not recognized as being fair nor valid. I replied that I understood cultural differences, but how did Eastern business practice explain using the same product packaging, appearance, and even NAME from the original on their copy...was that honorable as well? How did this measure to Chinese legal protection over products such as tea? He looked down and quietly commented that all was not fair in the world, and should not be expected to become that way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's a tough call. I just looked at a new Volvo and although they emphasis Scandinavian styling and downplay the Chinese side of the auto company, The company is totally owned and it's products manufactured in China. But to be honest the the car is finely crafted. And I would not hesitate one moment to let the China stigma stand in my way. The quality can be exceptional as well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I often wonder why Chinese manufacturers don't put all their efforts into making unique products, but then I suppose it's just easier to take a brand name with heritage who have already done the leg work and just rip them off with cheaper copies. Why spend years building up a new brand when you can just jump on the back of another?

    Going off on a slight tangent, back in 2003 we found ourselves across the other side of the creek in Dubai and wandered into the knock-off shops of the area. In one shop we were browsing the fake handbags and were asked if we'd like to see 'all the bags'. We were swiftly ushered through a revolving mirrored door and upstairs into the attic of the shop, the contents of which I couldn't quite comprehend. There was pretty much every Louis Vuitton monogram product. From key fobs and credit card holders to weekend bags and suit carriers, even suitcases and huge wardrobe travel trunks. ALL FAKE! I'd always thought counterfeiters just picked a few of the popular products and produced them in bulk. Whoever was manufacturing these had a real talent for counterfeiting as they had used real leathers, got the colours, printing and branding spot on, used correct metal hardwear and even gone to the trouble of making the matching dust bags. The only real difference was when it came to the pricing. A messenger bag for example, which would retail at around £1100 GBP was just under a tenth of the price - £100 GBP. To think this was 14 years ago, who knows what they will be able to counterfeit with the manufacturing technology of today.

    ReplyDelete
  4. One of the biggest concerns of mine when purchasing consumer goods is the ethics behind the products I buy. I know that I'm in an economic state where I can afford to care and not everyone can do that, but I want to do the least harm possible with my purchasing dollars. With counterfeit goods you have no set standards (even less oversight than companies like Forever 21 who is known for it's poor factory working conditions.) and there have been reports of those goods funding terrorism and being made in extremely horrible labor conditions using child labor. A good eye opening (though somewhat dated...) read that ventures onto this topic is Deluxe - How Luxury Lost it's Luster by Dana Thomas.

    - ER

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree on the Dana Thomas book. If that doesn't end the desire for fast fashion and designer bags, not much else will.

      Delete
  5. For me Its about quality. Yes sometimes, perhaps even often, the chinese goods are of good quality but sometimes they are not. Brands work because they are a guarantee of quality and there is redress if for some reason it falls short. Sunspell make simple basics (at a price) in Derby (UK). Should something go wrong a manager can inspect a machine, speak with the person who made the garment. This could happen with globalisation but doesn't.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Several years ago (probably 14, as above), my husband and I ate dinner at a bar in Southern California and, as we learned we were sitting next to an antiques dealer, we inquired about a store we had walked by several times. The store had no sign, but through a large expanse of windows, we could see it was crammed full of Asian antique furniture. There was always just a little note on the door with the owner's phone number. We've enjoyed collecting old furniture, and what we were seeing certainly looked like beautiful old wood furniture to our eyes. We wondered what was up. That opened a discussion about the buying of Chinese antiques. The dealer knew the store, knew that it's owner lived many miles away in the Hollywood area, and confirmed the pieces inside were Chinese antiques. The problem with Chinese antiques, as he told us, was that the making of reproductions had been a part of the Chinese culture forever, and as such, it was very easy to pay big money for a fake that had its-self become an antique.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reproduction American colonial furniture that was popular around the centennial in the United States is itself antique now. Or nearly so. My mother-in-law says there's antique furniture and then there's just old furniture.

      One source claimed there is actually very little real antique Chinese furniture because much was destroyed in wars and revolutions down through the ages.

      Delete
  7. Ironically, China is very good at producing certain products like silks and chinaware. George Washington's china at Mt. Vernon came from China. But at the same time, certain imported products are highly thought of in China. Supposedly the Buick brand is well-liked and has been for decades. At the top end of the market, I don't remember if Audi or BMW is considered more desirable but one carries the stigma of corruption for some reason.

    ReplyDelete