Suspected Chinese knockoff starting-what would you do? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Kevin Potter, who posts here, started making jewelry and small metalshaping tools a decade or two ago, because nobody else was doing it- and he sold quite a few to the jewelry programs in Chinese Universities,as I remember. We should try to get him to tell the story.

    But as far as I know, the Chinese didnt knock him off, instead, he stopped making them as his business evolved, the market saturated, and the margins too small.

    I also once visited a factory in Bologna, which made tea bag making machines- and they once sold one to China, only to get a service call a year or so later, where the mechanic the chinese paid to fly over from Italy found the machine obviously dissassembled and reassembled wrong. He repaired it, and the factory went on to buy many more Italian machines.
    If the product is really good, its a lot harder to steal the market.

    And, of course, we have the example of Haas, which is in California- high wages, high taxes, high real estate values- and they sell at least 100 california made machines a month to China.

    Quality, attention to detail, will get chinese customers. Cheap easy parts to copy will get chinese knockoffs.

    I once had a line of products that got knocked off by the Mexicans, some caribbean countries, and pakistanis.
    Not patentable, I just kept coming up with new ideas, and kept ahead of them until my business changed.

  2. #22
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    ship an incredibly poorly made one that on a good day just barely works and falls apart in a week?

    In a way, what the offshore low cost competition has done is accelerate the product cycle - you, know the idea that as a product ages it moves from new innovative high margins toward commoditization and low margins.

    The defenses are IP (brand) and innovation - as something gets commoditized you have come with new stuff to maintain margins.

    The part that is really wrong in all this is near free government subsidized shipping they get, i.e. the antiquated int postal union stuff. That imo is wrong and would restore a bit of a balance to things

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    IME, anyone who isn't on the offensive regarding this stuff is going to lose.

    If it is a domestic only product I would keep it out of China's hands for as long as possible.

    If you ship them something that doesn't work and they copy it and start selling it on Amazon delivered with Prime for less than you pay for materials it very well could blow up in your face and push buyers into getting from the OEM.
    Maybe better yet: Make functional part but with some really cumbersome features and machine it in the worst possible order.
    Everything rounded, radiused and machined from angles that are only possible in 5-axis machine and with 4 different workholding setups

    If you can take your product from this:

    To this:



    Another point of view to OP:s problem is that the chinese customer actually needs the part... now nobody is selling the part for him and on top of that the price seems like a rip-off.
    Whaddayoudo? Order the part from chinese machine shop and tell them that there appears to be market for these parts as the prices are silly high and nobody still sells them. Voila. And you have new chinese competitor.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    The part that is really wrong in all this is near free government subsidized shipping they get, i.e. the antiquated int postal union stuff. That imo is wrong and would restore a bit of a balance to things
    That is the bit that really annoys me, and because tracked airmail out of China is so cheap most of my customer base has come to think that if you pay a few £ for postage that it must be a tracked service when in reality it goes nowhere near the actual cost of me sending by tracked internationally.

    I don't ship to China but the only time I have directly been cloned was by another UK machine shop that spotted my best selling product on eBay, bought one and copied it to make a quick buck with no interest in the market it's for. Worst bit was they did their listing in such a way as to get my 5 star product reviews displayed on their listing and copied my description, when I challenged them on that they literally said they should apply because theirs is exactly the same.

    Lots of other manufacturers make the same basic product but all of them have designed from scratch and just come up with a similar thing, many people still seek mine out though because of years of building a reputation for being one of the best quality wise.

    Lesson learned though, if you have a widget that sells well on eBay end the listing periodically and relist it as to clear the sales history and make it less attractive to potential cloners.

    Also I think don't do what someone like Tactical Keychains did years ago and spend half your time on social media saying how little time it takes to make the products and how they're constantly sold out and you can't keep up with sales, an invitation to get copied if I ever saw one.

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  6. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebfab View Post
    GOr better yet, have a scrap part? Let them duplicate one with bad dimensions or a critical design flaw.

    Sounds great unless it's a real customer you've just sent a piece of crap to. That person would be in their right to offer you some bad internet feedback.

    Better to just lose the order.

  7. #26
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    Instead of sending them a defective unit, send them an OEM (original design) that doesn't have the improved design aspects. It will be functional but put the Chinese back at the same starting point as the OP. The similar product from the OP will have the improved design advantage and the Chinese will be doing a knock-off of the OEM component. Lots of design theft in automotive/motorcycle aftermarket products going on on both sides.


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