Even though we just blogged him a couple of days ago, we're putting the spotlight back on globe-trotting Nokia researcher Jan Chipchase for a brief moment, to draw some eyes to a completely fascinating series of observations on the future of fakes, in China and beyond.
Returning from a long research swing through China and SE Asia, Jan put together this essay on the growing volume and variety of fake consumer electronics on the market -- cellphones especially -- with some surprising developments in multiple tiers of "fake" quality (copy the logo? copy the ID? copy everything?), and the role played by packaging and accessories in their desirability:
Sometimes fake mobile phones can be bought in real (or exceptional quality) packaging. Whilst the size of the grey market is challenging to calculate - in countries with high import tarriffs there is a significant incentive for local entrepreneurs to smuggle in the devices, and since it's far easier to smuggle phones without bulky packaging and accessories these can be used elsewhere to increase the authenticity of fake products elsewhere. Simple arithmetic: what premium can be charged for a fake product sold in real packaging minus the cost of shipping that 'recycled' packaging? Phones sold through these unofficial channels may also come with real or fake, new or used batteries and chargers. In many of these markets and with few exceptions, the risk of being caught is negligible.
Read the whole thing, including some interesting proposals on how Apple might combat knock-offs in China, here.