China’s knockoffs come in many different forms, and can affect businesses large and small.
In some cases, factories will make products that physically resemble ones made by prominent brands. Quality may vary—an Android phone with rounded edges and a stamped-on Apple logo will never come close to replicating the feel of an iPhone. But a counterfeit Gucci bag might easily pass for the real thing.
Sometimes, as was the case with Stikbox and the hoverboard, a factory or design team will spot a fledgling new product on the internet, figure out how it’s made, and start churning out near-identical products. Other times, a Chinese partner factory will produce extra units of a product they agreed to make for another company, and sell the surplus items themselves online or to other vendors.
Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, drew criticism when he told investors in June (paywall) that fake goods “are of better quality and of better price than the real names” and come from “exactly the same factories” as authentic goods. But there’s some truth to his comments.
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