In China, fake tech products look so real the real ones look fake

Fake electronic goods and telephones are so convincing in China - and reach consumers earlier than do their authentic counterparts - that some buyers are left believing the real thing is the fraud and its maker the knockoff artist.

One prominent example of the phenomenon involved the May release by LG Electronics of its Chocolate phone, according to this press report from South Korea, a debut in China that was preceded - for some time - by phony Chocolate phones.

"Chinese people think it's LG Electronics that manufactures the fakes," says a staffer with the Korean electronics company. "We were really surprised to see the imitation Chocolate phone: it was exactly like the real one in design and in the way the touch pad was attached in the front."

The story describes how Samsung went to great lengths to ferret out a ring of exceptional counterfeiters - and then offered them jobs.

While the problem may not be as extreme or as exasperating here in the United States, fake gear has long been an issue for the network industry, as chronicled in this recent Network World story.

That story raised the ire of some within the so-called gray market of equipment vendors, whose complaints can be read among these letters.

Finally, as might be expected, some legitimate companies are fighting the fraud that's eating into their profits with technology of their own. The drug maker Pfizer, for example, is using RFID tags to ensure the authenticity of - spam artists take note - Viagra.


Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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