When word came out about fake Chinese Apple Stores, few who follow China were too surprised. For better or worse, almost anything can be faked in China. Apple is the world’s most valuable company, and it was only a matter of time before their storefront would begin making unlicensed appearances in the Middle Kingdom. However, I was a bit surprised the other day when I ran into this, in Changle, a county-level city just outside of Fuzhou.
It’s the Red Sun Salon, which incidentally bares the same name as the salon which Li Wenzhong used to run in Fuzhou, as well as his Hairstyling Academy. To be fair, the name The Red Sun (红太阳) is not exactly original. However, the logo and font were so similar to The Red Sun in Fuzhou (pictured below) that I WeChatted Li to ask if this salon had any relationship with his school. “Nope, not related” was his only reply, without any curiosity about where I had bumped into it.
Several days later I was back at the Red Sun Academy, and I brought up the issue with Li in person. Marketing and branding are important aspects of Li’s business strategy. Changle is less than half hour away from Fuzhou, and I figured he would at least be curious about who was ripping off his brand. “I don’t mind. That’s common in China” he replied. And that was that.