China replicating crowdfunded products even before their funding cycle is up. The bigger problem? These replicas supposedly work just as well as their genuine counterparts.
Case-in-point: Israeli entreprenuer Yekutiel Sherman’s idea of a smartphone case with a built-in selfie stick was replicated in China.
Yekutiel had put in the hard work — designing prototypes of his tech accessory, launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and shooting promotional videos for his project.
But his efforts came undone when an identical product was sold by Chinese vendors on AliExpress at lower prices (as low as US$8 compared to his US$23 selling price). Some copycats even ripped off Yekutiel’s product name – “Stikbox”.
Instead of owning a successful campaign, Yekutiel was left with backlash to settle. Negative comments came flooding in on the Kickstarter page, with backers throwing shade at him and demanding refunds.
This is just one case out of many that are linked to China’s substantial counterfeit market. Not only is there little to deter the copycats from replicating popular products in the market, but the imitation products are looking and performing closer to the real thing than ever before.
While a fresh idea on a crowdfunding site receives the money needed to start production, a factory in China could very well be in the midst of delivering replicas to customers all over the world.
It’s a tough battle to fight, and while major corporations can file lawsuits to bring down the factories which make fakes, there’s little that small-time innovators, like Yekutiel and others like him, can do to deter bootleggers from stealing their ideas.