In my blog (here, here and here) I often talk about the status of Intellectual Property protection in China and try to offer some solutions to protect ourselves. But today I came across an interesting article about how even the Chinese consumers are starting to get fed up with counterfeit goods.
It could be argued that China’s historic lack of enforcement of intellectual property rights allowed many of its industries to learn production methods and techniques from the West (and by “learn” I mean “copy”) without being saddled with the burden of paying royalties or bearing the cost of development on their own.
However, I am happy to report that things are changing for the better…perhaps not as fast as we would like it, but China is paying more attention to the protection of intellectual property.
The main reason may be that as China production moves up the value chain (think flat screen TVs rather than tube socks), Chinese companies are creating brands, new technologies and registering their own IP. You could say that because they finally have something to protect, they are jumping on the IP protection bandwagon.
But I think another reason is that the middle class and certainly the wealthy are getting sick of being ripped off by counterfeit products. They are willing to pay for the real thing and when they find out they were bamboozled, they raise a fuss. And that brings us back to the article I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post.
Here are the highlights from “Counterfeit Italian goods spark rage in China” as Chinese consumers are up in arms over “Italian” luxury goods that were recently revealed to have been manufactured in China.
“The Beijing office of the Intellectual Property Rights Department of the Italian Trade Commission (ITC) recently submitted a list of 30 brands that are advertised as having Italian origin to China’s State Intellectual Property Office.
The products specified include bags, leather goods and bedding, some of which are sold for higher prices than domestic products or even genuine imported goods. Italian addresses and phone numbers printed on the products’ packaging were found to be falsified.”
What goes around comes around.
I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that some of these rich Chinese consumers who can afford a few 100,000 RMB for what they thought was a real Italian bedroom set were the same factory owners in the 1990’s who made fortunes by copying foreign technologies and intellectual property.
That would be nice karma, wouldn’t it!
Wishing you successful China sourcing!
About the blogger
Mike Bellamy is an Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center (www.ChinaSourcingInfo.org). He is also the author of, “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” (chinasourcinginfo.org/book) and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions (www.PSSchina.com)