Date
29 July 2017
Some knockoffs are so good even experts find it hard to distinguish them from the real thing. Photo: NHK
Some knockoffs are so good even experts find it hard to distinguish them from the real thing. Photo: NHK

Why China’s copycats are now next to the real thing

The proliferation of fake goods in China is nothing new.

Yet, some brand owners are feeling their businesses being increasingly threatened because the quality of copycats is getting better than ever.

Most of us have heard that many international firms have left China for cheaper production bases elsewhere after a surge in labor and other costs in recent years but few may have noticed a strong connection between the exodus of foreign firms and the fake goods industry.

Japanese broadcaster NHK has talked to Bandai about knockoff issues recently and the leading Japanese toymaker said the problem is getting worse because the copycats are getting much better while selling at half the price of the genuine articles, even lower.

After the closure of the mainland factories of foreign firms, many engineers were left jobless.

Some joined the fake goods industry, using their skills to lift the game of these shady operations.

About 20 percent of the fake goods are almost as good as the original, according to NHK.

Even experts need to look closely to be able to tell the difference between these so-called super copies and the real thing.

Advances in 3D printing is also making it easier to make better fake goods at lower costs.

One may wonder why Chinese makers are not creating their own products given their markedly improved production techniques.

Some experts say the lack of originality and design experience are preventing these Chinese copycats from making and marketing their own products.

Also, many are used to the easy money of copying. As long as the business model works, there is little incentive to change.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RA

EJ Insight writer

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