I enjoyed the story about the fake Apple stores in Kunming, China. My first thought was what them took so long to find out about these stores ( it turns out there were a few of them in Kunming). The story was initially brought to light by a local blogger who just happened upon one of the stores while out and about on his bicycle. This gives you an idea of how insulated from the outside world some of China’s big cities still are. Kunming, after all, is not exactly off the beaten path. The story also brings back fond memories of my early days in Shanghai and a fake McDonald’s restaurant that sprang up on Huai Hai Rd in Shanghai in the summer of 1993. It became something of “must –see” attraction for all the ex-pats who lived in Shanghai then ( FYI the first McDonald’s actually opened in Beijing in the summer of 1993). The Golden Arches had been slightly altered so that the M looked more like an N and the official name of the restaurant was “Nancy’s” But there was no mistake about what effect the owner was trying to achieve.
The fakes though are something you really have to watch out for if you do business in China, whether as a big multi-national company or a small importer in the Midwest.
A case in point is YKK zippers. According to YKK’s official website fake YKK zippers are a big problem worldwide nowadays. YKK even has a separate page on their website which addresses the issue.I know about this because I am working now on samples for a customer who wants YKK zippers on her product. She has used generic Chinese zippers up until now but they break easily and, for this reason, she wants to move to YKK zippers. A couple of vendors had quoted me extremely high costs for YKK zippers & pullers – $ 3.00-4.00 which has me asking myself how can you be sure that what you are paying a premium price for is, in fact, the real thing ? Sometimes Chinese fakes are so good that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between the authentic and the counterfeit. So how does one deal with a problem like this? There are 2 ways I think:
1.) Provide the vendor with your own YKK zippers. One can buy from YKK directly or source within China from an accredited YKK distributor. You can also tell the vendor to buy directly from a source you provide them with.
2.) Discuss the problem with the vendor and ask them to provide receipts from their zipper supplier. You can then check to see if their supplier is a verified YKK supplier.
In short, this is just another reason is why doing business in China can be so challenging and why it is very important to have a relationship with your vendor in which you can discuss these issues in an open and friendly manner.