I have encountered many fake foreign foods in Mainland China. You have to have a keen eye because differences between real items and counterfeits can be very subtle, but piracy and the market for counterfeit items in Mainland China flourishes. Have you ever seen a fake Red Bull can, or fake Western snack food? This article will specifically be about fake foreign food in China. I find this quite a comical topic, and try to keep track of it whenever it happens to me.
One sad thing is that, in Mainland China, you can almost never guarantee authenticity of any product. Even in supposedly legitimate stores in proper malls, I have found counterfeit items. I make it clear that in this article I mean Mainland China, because in Hong Kong and Macau, you can guarantee authenticity of products at least in certain places in part because the police there actually enforce such things.
A Fake Thai Red Bull
In early 2015, I went to an imported food store in Shunde, Guangdong, China, very close to Zhonglou Park, and I bought a few items including one item which was supposedly a genuine Thai Red Bull. I drank a little bit of the drink, but later tossed it because it tasted very badly. It definitely did not taste like the original Thai Red Bull I had drunk so many times before in Hong Kong and Thailand. I also noted that it said that it was made in “Maynmar”, but I assumed that that was just a simple typo. When it happened again a few weeks later when I shopped at the same store, I knew something was definitely off. Of course, there is no country in the world called “Maynmar”. There is a Myanmar, but no “Maynmar”. One would think that counterfeiters would at least print the country name correctly. On close evaluation of the can, from numerous pictures of it that I took, one will conclude that it certainly is a fake.
On the back of the can it says:
“Red Bull Energy Drink Decreases Mental and Physical Strain, Enhance Performances, Improves Concentration, Boosts Reaction Speed”. The actual Red Bull corporation, Red Bull GmbH, would not have such atrocious English on their cans.
Also, on close evaluation you can see in the nutrition facts that the typeface is off for the letter “a” for
Because I lived in Singapore and have travelled all over Southeast Asia, I know that the Red Bull company makes many different versions of Red Bull. There is a Singaporean red Bull, A Malaysian Red Bull, A Thai Red Bull, Indonesian Red Bull, and at least 1 kind of Mainland China Red Bull. I am sure that the Red Bull company would like to shut this operation down if they could. LOL.
Why Are Counterfeit Consumer Goods So Common In Mainland China?
There are many reasons for this: corruption, lack of respect for trademarks, copyrights, and patents (especially of foreign products), the police not cracking down or caring about this, and this not being a priority of the government to stop.
Maybe it is because so few Chinese people have gone abroad that they don’t know the difference between the real and fake stuff. Very few Mainland Chinese people have a passport. Even fewer have gone abroad. Sometimes, con artists simply fool Chinese people because they don’t know the difference because they have never had the real thing.
Fake Kraft Products In Mainland China
Back in February 2015, I frequented a certain small shop/mart in Shunde, Guangong, China. I was probably the only foreigner who went there for weeks at a time. It is a small family-run store, but they do seem to buy many fake foreign foods interestingly. I am certain that no one there speaks English, and I am not sure why they had supposedly real foreign food there, but maybe it was to try to project a better image to their customers. On close inspection one day, I noticed many fake food items there. I took several photos of them. They mostly had supposedly real Ritz crackers. This is doubly funny I think, in part, because Ritz is a brand that is actually owned by Nabisco, not Kraft. This products make it seem that Kraft makes them. It is also funny that they misspell Ritz for most of them, and put “RIZE” instead. Note, that Kraft is spelled as “KRFOA” in most of these pictures.
Below are some fake Ritz crackers
RIZE Green Crackers
RIZE Orange Crackers
Fake Kraft Products
RIZE Purple Crackers
KRFOA RIZA Digestive
And finally a picture of two fake Kraft digestive boxes together:
Mainland China is an interesting case study for a country that went from being a fully communist country to a somewhat capitalistic county. You can find counterfeit foreign food nearly everywhere in Mainland China. To me, finding fake foreign food is funny in retrospect, but really sucks right after you realise that you were conned. If you are in Mainland China and want imported food and want to almost guarantee authenticity, I recommend you either buy online or go to a more expensive proper imported goods stores. That being said, one can almost never 100% guarantee authenticity in Mainland China unfortunately. What did you think about this article? Let’s continue the conversation. Your comments are welcome below.