Monday, February 23, 2009

Chinese Counterfeit Products Distort Sub-Saharan Market

Great 2008 article by David Rocks and Alex Halperin for BusinessWeek. They write that the manufacturers of low cost high volume products such as shoe polish, ball pens and tooth brushes in African countries, such as Uganda, meet a lot of IPR challenges originating from China.

Chinese counterfeiters adapt quicker and quicker to the changes in the packages of the genuine goods. essrs Rock and Halperin quote Joab Ouma, who at the time was Sara Lee's marketing director of East Africa, about the lead time of Sara Lee that is getting smaller and smaller: “First it was six months, and now it’s as little as six weeks.”

And the quality of the counterfeit products is good. "The faux Nice toothbrushes come in a plastic blister pack that’s virtually indistinguishable from Nice’s packaging, except that the knockoffs say “Design in Germany” while the real ones say “Made in Uganda.

The problem is these African countries is that the enforcement of IPR in difficult. First of all, because there are not many big retail chains but many many small shops, that do not know how to distinguish a fake from a real product.
The irony of it all is that because of the Chinese counterfeiters, the manufacturing in African countries is getting too expensive and will be outsourced to ... yes, China.
Read the BusinessWeek article by Messrs. Rock and Halperin here.
Africa is considered the preferred route for Chinese counterfeiters to Europe, read here.
When the Olympic torch came to Tanzania. people were demonstrating against ... Chinese counterfeit products, read here.

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