Astroturfing, China-Style, Confirmed

Previously: Astroturfing, China-Style

And today it was all confirmed.

Google English: [Chi] magic of the horizon-speed pad mini double joy

That post is advertorial graft that also confirms my allegation that certain forum posts at IMP3Net are manufacturer astroturfing.

Screensnap from the post:

AstroturgIMP#Net001

Click that to enlarge it and see what I’ve red-circled as the Source. The source of the post is Chuwi. You don’t find out this is advertorial graft until you’ve clicked to view the post.

Here’s a another screensnap from the post:

AstroturgIMP#Net002

This post is a bonus. It confirms that certain highly-detailed posts in the IMP3Net forums are outright manufacturer-placed astroturfing.

The photo above first appeared in one of several highly-detailed forums posts about the Chuwi V88:

IMP3NetForumPostImage

It’s from this forum post [Google English]: [Review / disassemble] screen glory I am the true quad-core: RK3188 MINI first quad-core machine Chi for speed PAD mini V88 A9 quad screen experience!. Scroll through it to see other photos also used in the IMP3Net adverorial graft post.

Chinese tech site readers have probably been exposed to this kind of thing for years. This is why domestic brand tablets don’t sell well. The Chinese customers understand they’re all being played to extract money from them, not to offer them actual value.

But I’ve been reading Chinese tech sites only recently, as I’ve investigated Chinese iPad Mini clones. I thought corruption in American tech sites was bad. The Chinese have taken it to a whole new — and very low — level.

None of these Chinese manufacturers are ever going to achieve world prominence as long as they continue to try to bamboozle potential customers like this.

This also makes me wonder about the delays in the Archos 80 Platinum appearing. Could it be Onda bamboozled Archos with fake benchmarks and Archos is trying to get out of their contract? In terms of legitimate AnTuTu scores, the quad-core A31 CPU in the 80 Platinum is really not much better than the dual-core Rockchip in the 80 Titanium. The only edge the A31 has is a better GPU.

Anyway, if you have any interest in getting a “bargain” out of China, things aren’t what they seem at first glance. You really must dig — and keep digging — until you reach the truth. Don’t trust the manufacturers, don’t trust posts in Chinese forums, and don’t trust the sellers that specialize in shipping Chinese tablets to other countries. Only trust other buyers — and even then, know their record.

Additional:

FTC Disclosure

2 Comments

Filed under Fraud

2 responses to “Astroturfing, China-Style, Confirmed

  1. Mike,

    When I lived and worked in Asia, once you got outside Japan there were almost no manufacturers of consumer electronic products in the sense that the company both designed and produced things. Almost everyone was an assembler, putting together components in boxes to the request of the buyer.

    The small guys in the ecosystem dealt with small buyers (not the Radio Shacks or OEM brands like Emerson). The small buyers would show up with “samples” of a branded American, European, or Japanese product. For example, a Sony Walkman. “Can you make this?” was the question. The assembler talked to his parts suppliers and together they figured out how to clone the product, with a few modifications to avoid copyright. They calculated their real costs, added a small margin (usually 7 to 12 percent), and set a minimum order quantity to recover the costs of mold making and custom graphics. Minimum orders could be as low as 500 pieces. Assembly quality could be very variable, even within one batch.

    There was no domestic market in China and not much of a market in Korea,Taiwan, or Hong Kong in those days. Consumers in those areas wanted international brands.

    Today there is a domestic market, but it is a little like the guy offering you a “Molex” watch in Times Square. He figures you want the Swiss product but can’t afford it, so he has this “deal” for you – a shoddy clone. He’ll assure you it is water resistant (in a bird bath) and keeps time (like Via Rail).

    Back in the day, those assemblers didn’t try to clone big ticket Denon or Panasonic or Sony items for US buyers, fearing either legal action or intimacy with the Yakuza (Sony created the Aiwa brand to sell lower-priced versions of its audio products in Asia and the Middle East and kill the clones they saw there).

    What we’re seeing today in the Chinese domestic market are clones (such as the ones of the 7″ iPad), aimed at the domestic market. And the guys who make and sell them do their promotion the same way that guy selling clone watches in Times Square operates: large amounts of BS to encourage the prospective consumer that owning this thing will make you look like one of those rich kids flaunting the real thing in Tien An Men Square, and “it has better performance” so you won’t feel inferior.

    The only way they can get that sales message out is to borrow the Times Square model and apply it to forums and chat sites. And, yes, many of them are the actual assemblers of the clones (little backstreet sweat shops) who sell direct to make a margin and with the hope their “brand” will gain enough traction that a real importer (a.k.a. a recent immigrant in Chinatown someplace looking for a way to make a buck) will actually order a commercial quantity.

    Very few of the Chinese clone tablets will sell in any kind of volume in the West. The manufacturers don’t have the scale to afford the cost of decent QC and QA and the importers who have “respectable” retail channels won’t take the risk of the high defect rates, let alone the possibility of IP suits. The one hope that most of those clone assemblers harbor is that some brand will come along and say they want an item under their brand and will send in their own QC staff to oversee every step of production. Reality: they might get moderate orders from West Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

    I just don’t see a real market for these items; I do see the astroturfing remaining a major feature on Chinese tech sites of all kinds. Until China’s economy matures enough that consumer protection and reliable standards bodies emerge … and that will take time measured in a decade or three.

    • mikecane

      Yeah, I gathered from videos Charbax has done that many of these tablets are hand-assembly jobbies, unlike the way most of the iPad is put together. Onda was picked up by Archos for the 80 Platinum — but it seems not to be on sale anywhere, after one YT video review popping up in either Poland or Romania. An even more obscure company is the source for the 80 Titanium.

      It’s clear that some of them have ambitions — like Onda and Ramos. But the current way they do business is going to keep them small-time.

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