Home / Lifestyle / News

Top 5 shanzhai

China Daily | Updated: 2012-06-13 10:06

Shanzhai is a broad term that not only denotes products that are blatant copies but are also marvels of ingenuity. Here are our top 5:

1. Qiaodan

Top 5 shanzhai

There's no better way of starting a company than celebrity endorsement. Just ask Qiaodan and Michael Jordan.

Playing on the name of possibly the world's greatest basketball player, Qiaodan successfully attached its brand to the superstar, even though he wasn't aware of it at the time.

Since fashion-conscious youngsters couldn't afford real Nike Air Jordans, they turned to Qiaodan products.

While Qiaodan hasn't done anything innovative in terms of shoe design or sportswear, its example shows how an obviously shanzhai company can make a pretty penny by copying a big-name marketing strategy.

2. Xiaomi + MIUI

Top 5 shanzhai

It looks like an iPhone, but it's not. Running on an iOS-styled Android operating system, Xiaomi tapped into a huge pool of customers who wanted the Apple product's functionality but couldn't afford the price. And it has loyal fans.

Now, Xiaomi is edging out some of its bigger and better funded cousins, such as HTC and Samsung. Its second phone, the Mi2, promises to be more innovative.

3. 'Designer clothes'

Top 5 shanzhai

Expensive designer clothing is intended to be for the rich and famous - only. That's its cachet.

However, if you head down to Shanghai's Xujiahui or Beijing's Silk Street, there are loads of tailors pitching tailor-made designer threads and, arguably, democratizing high fashion for the masses.

While it's obvious some Chinese tailors and manufacturers make their bread and butter imitating designer labels, others are clearly drawing inspiration. A good example is Chinese designer Guo Pei, whose works often mirror Western designers but have their own character, too. They're, therefore, originals, surely.

The online crowd has also got in on the action and its cheap knockoffs of famous people's made-to-order garments soon after they've appeared in the papers.

4. TV programs

Top 5 shanzhai

Dapeng, the host of online Chinese variety talk show Dapeng Debude, was called out by comedian Conan O' Brien not so long ago for stealing the American's opening credits.

While it showed Chinese entertainment companies do take ideas from their American cousins (like the mainland version of Ugly Betty), the Conan/Dapeng affair turned out well, with both entertainers praising each other and driving up each other's ratings. A real win-win for both sides.

5. Steve Jobs facsimile

While everyone knows there will only ever be one Steve Jobs, part-time actor Ah-Ken pitched a cheap Android-based tablet computer looking very much like the man himself, albeit with a halo on his head and wings on his back.

The small Taiwan company Action Electronics hired the actor to imitate the Apple founder, believing he could sell anything.

Needless to say the ad backfired somewhat, on the grounds of bad taste, disproving the adage there's no such thing as bad publicity and showing that imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery.

- Eric Jou

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349