"If you can make it,
they can fake it,"
And according to an article in this weeks Business Week; that statement applies to everything.... everything:
Shanghai Mitsubishi Elevator Co. discovered a counterfeit elevator after a building owner asked the company for a maintenance contract. "It didn't look like our product," says Wang Chung Heng, a lawyer for Shanghai Mitsubishi. "And it stopped between floors."
Elevators? Who would bother with trying to make a "fake" elevator? The same folk who copy stuff as diverse as Kiwi shoe polish, Callaway Golf Clubs, Intel computer chips, Bosch power drills, BP oil, even Daimler Chrysler engine blocks even Viagra and Chevy Cars. After reading the article I am convinced that for every well-known brand, there's a counterfeit version of it out there.
Most of us are aware of the "knock-off" market that has long existed at suburban markets and places like Bali and Hong Kong. But you have to be really dumb to actually believe that the $20 Rolex watch or the $30 Gucci Jeans are the "real deal".
But modern counterfeiting has grown much bigger than the suburban markets, cheap T-Shirts and sneakers:
The World Customs Organization estimates counterfeiting accounts for 5% to 7% of global merchandise trade, equivalent to lost sales of as much as $512 billion last year -- though experts say this is only a guess.
That's some serious trade, and it should be no surprise to learn that China is fast becoming the cornerstone of the international counterfeiting business, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all the fake and pirated goods worldwide. The reason that it is no surprise? Simple really, globalisation:
Counterfeiting thrives on the whole process of globalization itself. Globalization, after all, is the spread of capital and know how to new markets, which in turn contribute low-cost labor to create the ideal export machine, manufacturing first the cheap stuff, then moving up the value chain. That's the story of Southeast Asia. It's the story of China. Now it's the story of fakes. Counterfeiting packs all the punch of skilled labor, smart distribution, and product savvy without getting bogged down in costly details such as research and brand-building.
The result of this innovative twist on globalisation is an international industry that is starting to rival the Goliaths and multinationals in terms of
"speed, reach, and sophistication". Apparently the factories in China can copy a new
model of golf club in less than a week, and use their advanced logistics systems to distribute them- quickly-, well, anywhere you want
Obviously the Chinese are applying the same ingenious, inventive and scientific approach to back engineering products and counterfeit manufacturing that they are helping the country become the international "it" place for legitimate manufacture and opportunity.
Now that is a truely frightening thought, not only for Big Co, but for us consumers who will ultimately pay for all of this.
FInally though, I wonder if the fake Gillette will merge with the fake Proctor and Gamble?