Just another day in China, I got a scanned letter today, it was hand delivered to my Florida, USA address. I’m not going to say I’m getting cocky that “nothing can happen to me, I’m in China” attitude (though many of my Chinese friends seem to think they are immune to US law), but I am getting a better understanding a large part of a lawyer’s job is to instill fear on those they are prosecuting again. Yes, those first couple letters from lawyers scared the heck out of me. But really, you just need to be open and honest with them, its part of doing business in today’s world.
Sadly, this case is from some of my old staff in Shenzhen, I lost some all star staff and potential staff for them to instead enter into businesses of selling high margins selling fake products. It always upset me that people can make more money doing illegal things, and that I was always being told by Chinese that I can make so much money if I do it too. But I have held back, because I know I am an American citizen, with a US passport, and I can get in much more trouble then they can. I have blogged constantly, always told why do you work so hard for “niche market” with low margins, my favorite post struggles of an American stuck between USA and China…sometimes (often) it feels like neither side welcome you.
But now I believe China is adhering more and more to USA trademark infringement matters – After Chinese President Hu Jin Tao promised American government and companies he will fight more against Chinese citizens breaking copyright laws. A couple months ago I spent time with my ecommerce friends in Dongguan, getting perspective from a Chinese local, and he was also noticing the Chinese government upholding copyright infringement more:
He was mentioning about the recent news of the Chinese government catching businessmen selling fake knockoff products, in the past I have blogged about how Chinese are tempted and almost forced into selling fake products as an answer to make money. And then there is the idea, in China, you can make money, but if you make too much, others will get jelous and turn you in. Seems this is becoming a big problem, as last night slan saw on the news 2 online ecommerce businessmen being put into jail for selling fake products online. They were sentenced to 6 years in jail, with reported sales of 5 million reminbi (approximately $750,000 usd) of sales of knock off replica products.
Its just part of the life struggle, and what you really think is important in life. Sadly, as I have said, while everywhere in the world money is important, China really looks at money as success and families put pressure on their children to earn money for the family and hometown. I wonder if the families realize what some of their children are willing to do to earn that money. Why create such pressure? Also, the young Chinese have seen their peers become millionaires selling online, or starting a factory, and think “why not me too”.
But become a billionaire, then what. I for one, hope there is more to life then money….or it would get pretty boring.
Well, here I go dealing with more legal actions from being in “scary China”. Again, maybe this American law firm can hire me for consulting services in China. Where there is fear and uncertainty, there is opportunity.