Many of the most common household brand names in America are not American companies, and that’s been true for decades. When it comes to technological innovation especially — from cars to phones and every appliance in between — we’ve become used to huge numbers of goods coming from countries in Asia.
Chinese online retail giant Alibaba Group seems to want to have it both ways with low-cost knockoff products — simultaneously offering a popular portal for sellers of these lookalike items to reach the world and claiming to be actively cracking down on the sale of these same products. The company’s founder now says one the reasons it can’t just shut off this pipeline of too-similar brand-name apparel and tech products is that these China-made items are now just as good or better than the more expensive products they imitate. [More]
Competition is great: when there are more options for something, consumers usually come out ahead. That applies to entertainment theme parks as much as to anything else: if there are more places to go, crowds will be mitigated, prices will be competitive, and amenities will probably improve. But “competing” doesn’t actually mean “duplicating the other guy’s stuff and displaying it at my place instead.” At least, it’s not supposed to.
Alibaba and famous brand names do not historically have a great relationship. Just earlier this week, the e-commerce company was suspended from an international anti-counterfeiting coalition and its CEO withdrew as keynote speaker at the group’s conference later this month. The company is trying, though, and today had a Super Brand Day on the company’s Tmall e-commerce site. [More]
Five years ago, China’s Zhongshan Pearl River Drinks filed trademark applications for “Face Book” branded beverages and snacks, hoping to ride the wave of popularity for the social media platform even though it’s banned in the country. Today, a court in Beijing handed the real Facebook a rare victory for this sort of trademark case, revoking this use of the famous brand. [More]
A Chinese company that peddles purses and wallets bearing the IPHONE name has the right to keep selling those products, despite Apple’s efforts to keep the trademark all for itself. [More]
It seems that someone in the offices of Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) or Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), or perhaps both senators, has either ordered clothing from a misleading China-based site or read Buzzfeed recently. Both senators announced today that they’ve sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission chair Edith Ramirez, urging the FTC to take action against sites that advertise great deals and don’t deliver what customers expected. [More]
You may have seen ads on Facebook or elsewhere online for what look like decent quality and trendy clothes at rock-bottom prices. They have some satisfied customers, but many of these sites offer ill-fitting clothes that barely resemble their photos. When shady overseas fashion purveyors advertise on Facebook to find new customers, does Facebook have any responsibility for what happens next? [More]
At times, the thirst for new Apple products is so great in China that fake Apple Stores selling real Apple products pop up, with helpful uniformed employees ready to sell you any gray-market iThingy you might want. Now Reuters reports that some of those stores have switched over to selling local Chinese phone brands like Huawei. [More]
You’ve likely never been prescribed the antibiotic colistin, because it’s a drug of last resort that you turn to after only other antibiotics have failed. But there’s a gene that can make bacteria resistant to colistin, and a new report says it’s been found in at least 19 countries on four continents. [More]
In the span of an hour this morning, Netflix more than tripled the number of countries in which it offers service, effectively serving everywhere in the world with one huge exception: China. [More]
When you have guests over for a fancy gathering, or you’re celebrating an important holiday, some families like to haul out china. Maybe it’s a family heirloom, or maybe it was a pricey wedding gift that you regret not exchanging for a KitchenAid mixer. Either way, the more guests you have, the more important this question becomes: can fine china go in the dishwasher? [More]
General Motors’ Buick — perhaps the oldest existing name in U.S. car brands — is trying to re-introduce itself to younger American consumers who associate it with a stuffier generation. But Buick is a hit in China, with a number of models manufactured specifically for the local market. One of those cars — the Buick Envision — may end up being GM’s first China-made car to be imported to the U.S. [More]
Depending on how you feel about the way real estate works now, the idea of sticking a house in your Internet shopping cart and clicking “Buy” may or may not appeal to you. Advances in technology mean that you can buy a new house without even going outside, and get a discount for doing so…in India. [More]
In the months since Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba began trading shares in its Cayman Islands-based holding corporation on the New York Stock Exchange, entities ranging from the Chinese government to the owner of Gucci have accused the company of knowingly profiting from counterfeit branded goods. Alibaba has promised to improve its capacity to ferret out fakes, and now says that it will take down some brands’ items more quickly. [More]
Here at Consumerist, we’re fascinated with the global gray market: the system of parallel imports that gives us Omega watches from Paraguay at Costco and a pirate Trader Joe’s store in Canada. There are even bigger things that trade on the gray market, though: in Shanghai, there’s a place where luxury car buyers can save money by purchasing cars that haven’t been imported through official channels. [More]