Beijing Beat blog with Mark Godfrey

Beijing Beat

Bootleg Beijing

Aug 14

Written by:
8/14/2008 10:39 PM  RssIcon

Athletes get to savour Beijing's markets of fakes - still thriving despite the city's Olympics clean up

It's pretty embarassing if the sponsors of the Beijing Olympics have their goods knocked off, copied and sold in the host city's markets. Well that's what happens here: Olympic squads are loading up on fake Nike, Speedo gear in markets like Yaxiu, around the corner from my office. Sports brands which have spent loads of money on backing and clothing national Olympic squads suffer the indignity of being ripped off, under the noses of the Chinese police.

Welcome to China. Music companies know all about Chiense pirates. And they'll be stung again by the Olympics. Athletes like their tunes as much as everyone else and many are flying home with cheap, counterfeit versions of the CDs they'd otherwise buy for a lot more money in Oklahoma, Brighton or Dublin. CD/DVD shops in Beijing have tried to mask the business - they've been ordered to pull counterfeits from the shelves. But the larger, down-town stores are going to elaborate lengths to sell bootlegs. A Diana Krall CD for RMB65, and a Suede best-off for RMB38 seemed pricey for Beijing. Similarly, where a few weeks before the shelves heaved with new Hollywood releases, the only DVDs on offer yesterday were older classics like John Wayne's Rio Grande and the film versions of Ernest Hemingway classics like A Farewell to Arms. When I asked where the newer, cheaper stuff was I was led down a rabbit warren of corridors to a small window-less room where a dozen people were flicking through albums of CD and DVD jackets. So no law broken. But point to the DVD jacket that catches your eye and one of the two staff heads back out the door, to return after several minutes with the requested discs.

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