When talking about Asian success stories there are few countries that can boast the sustained economic growth that China has seen over the past twenty or so years. Since the 1980s the country has been opened up to the rest of the world, and as a result foreign investment in the country has skyrocketed. This has had the effect of creating wealth and with it a previously unknown middle class. However unlike in Western economies, there has been a spate of copyright infringement, and the selling of counterfeit goods, otherwise known as bootlegging.
There are a variety of reasons that can be cited as to why this is the case, but there are a few that are more obvious and influential than others and although focus will be on China, this is the case in most Asian economies.
A Question of Trust
The Chinese economy is, in a manner of speaking, self-perpetuating. As a country China invests heavily outside of Asia, such as in Africa, but consumer spending by the Chinese public is notorious for favoring domestic goods; a fact which may be come as a result of the relative expense of foreign produce. This has created a huge black market in foreign goods, and quite often the bootlegged version will be bought, not because it’s necessarily any better but because the consumer is more wary about purchasing foreign goods. When this is coupled with the following reason, it’s easy to see why the bootlegging culture is so prevalent.
For Richer, For Poorer
The Chinese lower class has become more mobile and moved from the countryside to the city in order to find employment. This has created the situation where all of a sudden there is a large portion of the population who want to access new media, but find that they still cannot afford to pay for it. As a result, they get driven to the black market, and buy counterfeit goods. And who can blame them! The Chinese market is so good at copying other products and maintaining the same level of quality that the choice becomes a no-brainer for your average man on the street.
IMG: LVDESIGN – Fotolia