Get connected, my china!

By Kirstin Buick
23 November 2013

The Chinese have a remarkable ability to make their own versions of popular items, ranging from cars to technology. Think “IPhon” instead of iPhone and the Lifan 320, which looks exactly like a Mini Cooper. Check our list of the best (and funniest) Chinese rip-offs.

China’s internet service portal Tencent is hot on the trail of social media site Facebook. Mobile messaging app WeChat, which was recently launched in South Africa, had 100 million users by the end of September. The Chinese have a remarkable ability to make their own versions of popular items, ranging from cars to technology. Think “IPhon” instead of iPhone and the Lifan 320, which looks exactly like a Mini Cooper.

Check our list of the best (and funniest) Chinese rip-offs. 

1.    Reality TV shows

All of them. While most countries have to buy the format of reality shows in order to screen them, like we do with Idols and MasterChef, the Chinese simply make up their own shows but keep the format pretty similar. Their version of Idols is called Super Boy and Super Girl and their version of Project Runway is called Magical Talented Designers (in an English translation).

2.    Clothing

This is easy – think about every single Guess, Gucci, Adidas or Nike product you’ve ever seen at a Chinese shop near you. Of course the only way they get away with it is by spelling the names differently, but many of these knock-offs, especially bags are easy to pass off as an original.

3.    Borio

“First you twist it, then you lick. Mom says chocolate isn’t good for dogs but you can have the rest of my milk.” You guessed it – Oreos.

4.    Fast food outlets

Almost every franchise you can think has been faked and rebranded. We especially love FBC, KFG, KLG and MFC. They’re all acronyms for KFC.

Others include Cheese Burger, their version of Burger King and oMC McDnoalds. You get that last one.

5.    Wu Mart

This doesn’t need any explanation. But just in case. This is the Chinese version of mega supermarket chain WalMart.

6.    Apple

They haven’t only ripped off the iPhone but also the iPad – which they refer to as iPed. They even have their own Asian Steve Jobs – dressed in that trademark black polo neck – in the advertising campaigns.

7.    Alcohol and cigarettes

JohnsDaphne – Quality Tenderness Sour Mash Whiskey is the Chinese take on Jack Daniels (Tennessee whiskey) while at least 400 billion illegal counterfeit cigarettes are consumed in China alone.

8.    Video game consoles

Think X Boy instead of Xbox and Nintendo Polystation instead of PlayStation.

9.    Cars

BMW tried to take on the Chinese in 2008 when they cloned their X5 SUV. Somehow a court found the car was not a replica, so Chinese manufacturers are still producing their BYD cars.

10. Toys

Famous comic heroes like Batman and Spiderman as well as popular franchises like The Transformer and even Legos have gotten makeovers. Even Barbie has fallen victim – her Chinese friend is called Bessie.

- Gilda Narsimdas

Image: kokotalola on YouTube

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