Chinese manufacturers cash in on royal wedding
By Royston Chan Royston Chan Wed Jan 12, 4:14 am ET
YIWU, China (Reuters Life!) Britain may be on the other side of the world, but Chinese manufacturers are cashing in on the British royal wedding as they churn out tens of thousands of replica royal engagement rings.
Dozens of factories located in the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu in Zhejiang province, home to the world's largest wholesale market for a wide range of small items from pencils to socks to cups, have been rushing to produce knockoffs of the ring to meet surging global demand.
Jewelry manufacturer Zhou Mingwang said he jumped at the opportunity of making the replica rings as soon as the royal engagement was announced.
"When they announced their engagement, it was just by chance that I saw their ring on the internet. I felt that this had a great commemorative value and thought there was a good market for the product," Zhou added.
Zhou said that his company decided to put the on their website on Alibaba.com, China's largest e-commerce site, and that inquiries began to come in.
Zhou's factory offers four different models of the ring with slightly different designs and color tones.
The cheapest is made of acrylic and metallic alloys while the best in his range is made from zircon and silver-coated copper.
Zhou said factories like his which were producing the rings had to make slight alterations in size or design from the original in order to avoid trademark infringement issues.
"For example, if the original ring has fourteen indentations, we can change it to be ten or four. So we made slight modifications in order to tackle this problem so that there are no trademark issues," he added.
The cost of the original ring was estimated to be around 30,000 pounds but the imitation rings are selling for a wholesale price of as little as 3 yuan ($0.45) for the cheapest models and up to 50 yuan ($7.56) for rings made with better materials.
Orders are coming in fast and Zhou said his rings were being sought by customers in the United Kingdom and the United States as well as other countries in Western Europe.
Besides the rings, Chinese factories are also producing other wedding memorabilia replicas such as cups, plates and key chains associated with the soon-to-be wed royal couple.
Factory owners said they were confident of strong sales ahead of the wedding on April 29 and even after that.
Fu Xuxian, owner of the Yiwu Unnar Jewelry factory, said his factory has been making different samples of products such as mugs and mini teddy bears featuring the couple.
But the replica rings are the ones flying off the shelves.
"In the United Kingdom, the British royal family, including the Queen, is quite popular with the public. I feel that memorabilia associated with the royal family should be able to sell well in the long term," Fu said.
"Of course, the golden period for sales would be from now until April 29."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110112/lf_ … yal_ring_1
Chinese manufacturers don't seem to have any ethics when it comes to copying or counterfeiting popular selling products..or copying online articles and photos for that matter.
Go brush up your ethics ! there is nothing wrong in making copies of stuff, there may be a case of it being wrong to make the same thing, but even that is not so sure.
You are all wound up in the copyright myth that your owners have bullied you into accepting so that you willingly pay shedloads of money for the cheap things they sell you.
Most of the tourist stuff in the UK gift shops with pictures of the Royal Family on it is all made in China anyway, and it will be no surprise to any Brit that even more container loads of cheap tat are winging their way to these shores.
If there is a market someone will fill it! Knock offs of Di's-now-Kate's engagement ring are probably available in markets on every continent of the globe, but is it any different from the Chanel, Cartier, Tiffany, etc replicas that you buy by the truck load?
This is the same issue that my brother in the UK has with Chinese tools - he complains they are poor quality BUT this is the importer reselling to a willing market. If the UK wanted good quality Chinese tools the importers can find them here (also cheap). The tools and other stuff we use here daily are good enough quality, a Chinese is unlikely to buy junk!
Can't see the problem personally, as a British person.
The royal family were born into an easy life, at the expense of the man on the street, they would have no right to feel offended.
If the official merchandise is manufactured outside of Britain then I would see an issue, who is licensed to manufacture the official merchandise? Because I would like to place THAT contract under scrutiny.
Ultimately, everything is a business. And I couldn't give a damn if we have a royal wedding, until the Queen operates her rights as head of state to overthrow our government or our legal system she bears little relevance to me.
Unless she does decide to resume control over any aspect of our society, she and her family is nothing to me.
It's not just the Chinese manufacturer who has "questionable" ethical values. What about the British and American resellers?
Come on! Business is about making money. Ethically speaking this is pretty mild. But pure ethics often runs counter to the bottom line.
I have just discovered that the official merchandise is to be manufactured in Stoke On Trent. Therefore, if anybody takes grave offence to the production of goods in China then they can purchase that.
I would be interested in knowing where you buy your stuff? You would have to be stinking rich to buy only British made products. Do you shop at Argos? Buy non-food items from supermarkets? Shop at Debenhams? Marks & Spencers? Primark?
The buck stops at the consumer, we are all guilty of shunning British made goods in favour of cheaper foreign imports.
EDIT: I notice that you live in America, and that you are promoting non-American made goods to Americans?
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