My View on Shanzhai Phenomenon
When new models of cell phones with a brand name are desirable for many customers who can not afford them, smart business men began to produce the latest models through imitation but charge only one third or half of the price of the real model. This kind of cell phones, or labeled Shanzhai phones, undoubtedly, satisfies customers’ desire and rewards producers’ talents. Gradually, people label any commodities produced by imitation as Shanzhai products.
Those products include cell phones, digital cameras, laptop computers etc. Some companies even invite people who have similar appearance to popular stars to endorse on their products in Shanzhai advertisements. Though those who produce Shanzhai products can reap immediate profits, their products will gradually be eliminated from the market.
Firstly, indicative of the Shanzhai phenomenon is producers’ myopia. When a new model of certain product is in large demand, those speculative factory owners will seize the opportunity to manufacture similar products. Without investment in product research and advertisements, what Shanzhai producers need to do is copy and then reap immediate profits. Obviously, as those companies do not lay their emphasis on product research and marketing, they do not have the chance to reap profits in the long run. For those speculators, what matters is whether they can make money as soon and much as possible. When a new model becomes outdated and customers show less interest, inevitably, odds are against those Shanzhai companies.
Secondly, as part of Shanzhai products would be exported to overseas markets, its low quality will do damage to the reputation of “Made in China”. In the market, Shanzhai products are usually charged less than the real ones. But why would those salespeople like to sell their products at such a low price? Any rational customers can hence conclude that their quality is not guaranteed. In the long run, foreign customers would realize that products made in China are cheap and of low-quality. The moment they encounter products made in China when shopping, they would pause for a second and then decide to choose products made in other countries. This is not an exaggeration. In Russia, due to the import of fake Chinese products in 1990s, Russian people have lost trust in Chinese products.
In sum, though those speculative producers can make short-term profits, customers will gradually lose confidence in Shanzhai products, which is to the detriment of reputation of “Made in China”. As a result, Shanzhai phenomenon should be discouraged.