jm + copycat   1

Shanzhai 山寨 China & its Contents
As he drinks Sino-coffee for around RMB 10, Comrade X might well be wearing the latest ‘ZARE’ couture while watching the TV news streaming on his HiPhone.[2] Back in Guangdong, his girlfriend — a sales consultant at a small stall in one of Shenzhen’s many wholesale electronics markets — sports a ‘high-end replica’ 高仿 Louis Vuitton bag and makes a living selling ‘domestically produced’ 国产 and ‘smuggled’ 水货 smartphones. The imitation products that festoon the couple’s lives are part of ‘shanzhai 山寨 China’.

Shanzhai, the word means roughly ‘mass-produced imitation goods’, has created a Chinese landscape that is littered with products derided by the media, Chinese and international, as ‘copycat’, ‘guerrilla counterfeits’ and ‘knockoffs’, all the work of thieves.[3] Those who feel that their intellectual property and copyright has been infringed by shanzhai producers describe the products as ‘rubbish’, ‘piracy in disguise’ and ‘hooligan’.[4] Regardless of such righteous outrage, shanzhai — the producers, the products and the mentality — continues to flourish as an essential, quasi-legitimate shadow dimension of the Chinese economy. And, in practical terms, shanzhai products give disenfranchised ‘non-consumers’ of the orthodox economy — that is, people who would like to own but can’t afford the ‘original’ products — cut-price access to high-end technologies, as well as offering aspirational shoppers consumer satisfaction.
shanzai  china  fakes  consumerism  hiphone  smartphones  copycat  knockoffs  imitation  consumption 
4 weeks ago by jm

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