Photo: auselen via flickr
From Apple stores, to Greenwich, Ct., to a sleepy Austrian village the list of Chinese reproductions is as varied as it is long.And according to the Montreal Gazette, the list of pirated items now includes the Scandinavian furniture store Ikea.
11 Furniture, as the store is known, copies Ikea’s blue and yellow colour scheme, mock-up rooms, miniature pencils, signage and even its rocking chair designs. Its cafeteria-style restaurant, complete with minimalist wooden tables, has a familiar look, although the menu features Chinese-style braised minced pork and eggs instead of Ikea’s Swedish meatballs and salmon.
A company’s brand is its most valuable asset and even when stores sell genuine products, the original brand has no way of controlling how customers will experience the knock-off. This could be more damaging to long term profits than any type of piracy that’s come before.
Zhang Yunping, 22, a customer service representative at 11 Furniture, is used to the questions about Ikea. “If two people are wearing the same clothes, you are bound to say that one copied the other,” Zhang said, shrugging her shoulders. “Customers have told me we look like Ikea. But for me that’s not my problem. I just look after customers’ welfare. Things like copyrights, that is for the big bosses to manage,” she said.
The store colours, the layout, and even the name — “Shi Yi Jia Ju” opposed to “Yi Jia Jia Ju” — are all similar, but customers at 11 Furniture pick up their furniture already assembled.
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