Counterfeit Brands from China and in China

If copying is the highest form of flattery, businesses in China truly loves American brands and American advertising.

Sometimes the copying is funny, like this Chinese take on KFC:

Chinese Copy KFC Colonel Sanders

Sometimes it is unsettling, like the thousands of boxes of fake Tide detergent seized by customs officials in Seattle in September of 2010:

Counterfeit product seized in Seattle


And sometimes, the counterfeiting fraud is so astounding as to leave you speechless. Yahoo is reporting that entire Apple stores, complete with distinctive winding staircases, fake products, and employees in uniform are popping up around China. See the pictures of the fake Apple stores in Kunming at the BirdAbroad Web site.

Surely, stores so prominent as these have to have the blessing of local Chinese government officials. Perhaps those officials and their superiors should take note: “Made in China” does not have positive brand connotations. The negatives attached to “Made in China” ultimately will limit the economic success of Chinese products and brands in the West. Activities such as these definitely don’t help fix the problem.


6 comments to Counterfeit Brands from China and in China

  • I hope some day the China counter fitters get whats coming to them, other counties do all the hard work and China just steals and steals ideas from hard working people, God this makes me so mad!!!

  • Dee

    Just FYI, your Chinese KFC is a noodle restaurant.

    But still absolutely inexcusable. Surely no American person or company has ever copied something… especially when the US was a developing country, everyone was straight as an arrow.

  • LDMerriam

    You know, I just walked by–didn’t actually eat there. Thanks for the clarification. I’ll have to drop in the next time I am in Shanghai. I like noodles better than fried chicken.

  • Jerry

    Dee, for you to defend the Chinese and say that Americans do the same is shameful. At least in this country, we discourage this kind of behaviour. We have patent laws. China with all it’s economic power is a vacuum when it comes to originality, innovation and resourcefulness. You would think, with all that money, they can invest some to R & D instead of just copying everything under the sun.

  • LDMerriam

    The point of this post is that counterfeiting is more than illegal or immoral or unoriginal, it is a stupid business choice. Brands are extremely valuable because they are trusted and unique. Copying another company and cheating your customers is no way to build long term value–in China or anywhere else. For Dee to defend the Chinese practices in this area is not just shameful; it is a shamefully bad business practice.

  • Matt

    Yes, but which customer would be fooled by this? The chinese guy on the picture does not nearly look like the colonel, anyone walking in it hoping to find an original KFC would be an idiot, and would deserve the bowl of noodles coming to him.
    Also on patents, the USA and all the other developed countries were not rushing to enforce patent laws when they were themselves developing, only after reaching a certain level of development did they try to enforce it in order to keep their advantage. All the European nations, the USA and everyone stole a lot of ideas, machineries, concepts, even workers, in an attempt to catch up with the other nations.
    What China is doing is what we did, and blaming them today is really unfair in the face of history.
    For more on patents and how it came about, read Kicking away the ladder by Ha-Joon Chang, it’s a very insightful book.

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