29th April 2010
Apple recently delayed the iPad’s international launch after huge demand in the United States caught the maker of trendy iPhones and MacBooks off guard. But Chinese consumers looking for knock-offs of the company’s latest must-have product need look no further than this teeming electronics mall in Shenzhen, the southern Chinese boomtown near the border with Hong Kong.
Hefty and thickset with three USB ports and a more rectangular shape than the original, this knock-off with iPad aspirations, which runs a Windows operating system, looks more like a giant iPhone. It costs 2,800 yuan ($410), making it slightly cheaper than the iPad’s $499-$699 price tag.
In theory, the whole point of ‘intellectual property’ laws was to foster innovation, the underlying premise being that people wouldn’t innovate without a law-guaranteed return on their investment. As with many fine-sounding theories, that would appear not to reflect what happens in the real world. It would seem time to rethink the whole issue … but, of course, that’s not going to happen.