Nowadays, reading about news reports telling us that China has produced the shan zhai version of something is really nothing new. You name it, almost anything from lady’s handbags, designer’s jeans, iPhones, to four-door sedans, China got the shan zhan version of them all. You may say, “Well, China has been notorious for pirate-copying branded products, what’s new about that?” Wait to revise your remarks till I finish explaining what shan zhai is.
Literally, shan zhai means a fortified mountain village or a bandit stronghold in the mountain. This term is now being used to name products made in China that look like, feel like or work like the original products without bearing the exact brand names. Is that a copycat behavior to mimic something? You might say that. Since China has been trying hard to wash her bad name as a number one pirate country in the world, comparatively fewer of her factories now are producing merchandise that might infringe copyrights. Instead, they make this so called shan zhan version.
Years ago, I wore a Rolex watch. It was not a real Rolex, I can't even afford one now, not to say then. It was a fake one made in Taiwan priced only one hundredth of the genuine one. The watch worked marvelously. It is really sad that, with the skill to make such a good watch, why don’t we make watches with our own nametags? Shan zhai is only an euphemism to escape being charged for copyright infringement. I do believe that we Chinese can produce something great and proudly bearing our own names if we are willing to endeavor our efforts to do more R & D jobs.