Seriously, Chinese counterfeits surprise you?

I have just read an article from the newspaper The Korea Times. In it, the writer is actually surprised that the Chinese are copying MMORPGs coming out of Korea. This begs the question, "Have you had your head in the sand for the last 10 years or what?" Chinese consumer goods have become synonymous counterfeit products or knockoffs.

I'm still amazed that people expect anything else from the Chinese markets. But I do think the writer has a bit more to learn about the subject of his own article. Gamers are much more fickle than he assumes and unless the Chinese knockoffs surpass their Korean counterparts in quality(in which case are they still knockoffs?) the gamers will still be handing their money to the Korean companies.

Here is the article followed by a link to the original;

First it was mobile phones and automobiles ― now, China's insatiable appetite to copycat is poised to devour Korea's original online games.

Korean game makers fear that Chinese copycats will drive them out of the market, taking advantage of the country's sheer market size and Beijing's lenient attitude to piracy.

Webzen, a mid-sized Korean online game publisher, has been garnering a significant Chinese following for its role-playing game, "Mu," which it has been providing through its local partner, The9.

However, Webzen was recently surprised to hear that The9 is about to reveal a new game called "Mu X," which it claims to be Mu's sequel. Of course, Webzen can't afford to go ballistic against its Chinese partner, which is the local operator not only for Mu, but also for another Webzen hit, "Sun Online."

Blizzard Entertainment, the creator of the planet's most popular role-playing series, "World of Warcraft," has also been frustrated by The9's efforts to market a clone called "World of Fight." The9 has been the Chinese operator of World of Warcraft, but Blizzard recently cut its ties with the company and awarded its local rival, NetEase, the rights to operate the game and also other hit products, including the yet-to-be-released "StarCraft II."

"We haven't seen the game yet, so it is too early to tell whether Mu X is a copy or not," said an executive from Webzen. The9, which has reportedly spent two years developing Mu X, is expected to reveal the game at the upcoming China Joy 2009 computer games fair.

Webzen recently sent an official letter to The9 demanding the Chinese company settle intellectual property and trademark rights before marketing Mu X.

"It is frustrating that The9 has been promoting Mu X as if it is linked with the original Mu. It is not, and we have not received any information about Mu X during its development by The9," the official said.

The success of Mu put Webzen on the industry map, accounting for around 50 billion won (about $40 million) of the company's overall revenue on average over the past few years. The game has also provided The9 with a platform for growth in China, but the release of Mu X will undoubtedly sour the relationship with its Korean partner.

Online game publishers aren't the only Korean firms becoming increasingly concerned about what they call Chinese knock-off products.

Last week, police investigators in Seoul arrested a 32-year-old man and detained 11 others on charges of smuggling thousands of knock-off mobile phones from China, that were copies of popular models from Samsung and Apple, and which had earned them more than 20 million won.

The estimated damaged in trademark rights totaled about 750 million won, according to police.

Chinese Copycats Threatens Korean Game Makers


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