Microsoft: “Genuine! It’s Not The Same!” Anti-Piracy Campaign

Windows Vista pirated version

One of the biggest issues Western firms have with China is the country’s stance on intellectual property rights. Despite the Chinese Government stepping up its efforts to battle the issue in recent years, the problems still exist.

Whether it be the stalls in Beijing’s Silk Market selling their staggering range of counterfeit designer goods, Chinese media broadcasters using copyright footage without permission, or the ever impressive copycat products (known in China as ‘山寨’ – Shānzhài) such as the recent ‘iPed’ — the fake iPad, there is no doubt about it intellectual property infringements are rife in the PRC.

Beijing Silk Market stall

Microsoft (微软 – Wēi ruǎn) has been fighting piracy of its products in the Mainland for a long time. Over the years, it has used range of approaches to tackle the issue.

For instance in 2008, Microsoft rolled out a program called “Windows Genuine Advantage” which caused “black screens of death” to appear every hour on unregistered versions of the Windows operating system. The only way to resolve the problem would have been to buy a genuine copy of Windows.

Bill Gates in China 1995

Yet, just a year earlier, Bill Gates stated that he liked the Chinese pirating his software over its competitors, because he believed that eventually Chinese consumers would pay for the real thing.

Unfortunately, this ‘something for nothing’ strategy did not quite work out and since 2007 Microsoft has won numerous court cases against Chinese firms around the issue.

Microsoft Chinese piracy

Despite the software giant winning courtroom battles against Chinese companies, many people in the Middle Kingdom are still using pirated versions of Windows.

When Windows Vista launched over 20million copies were bought legally worldwide within a month, but astonishingly in China only 244 legal versions were purchased in that first two weeks — with many Chinese instead opting for the cheaper pirated version.

In fairness, the last couple of years have seen a decline of piracy rates in China, but it is still an area that Microsoft China takes very seriously.

To that end, and coinciding with Microsoft’s first year anniversary of the Windows 7 launch in China, the firm’s latest approach comes in the form of a large-scale advertising campaign titled. “真!就不一样” (Zhēn! Jiù bù yīyàng) which translates into English as “Genuine! It’s Not The Same“.

Microsoft China -- Genuine, It's Not the Same

The campaign is launching in six major cities: Beijing, Nanjing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Wuhan and Hangzhou. Various tactics will be used to encourage Chinese consumers to purchase the genuine version of Windows 7 from; TV commercials, price discounts, cooperation with computer makers and even face-to-face sessions with the consumers themselves.

The advertising element of the campaign above aims to show Chinese citizens the risks and dangers that can occur from using pirated software.

There will be more TV ads and outdoor advertising to follow later this month, but for now this is just a taster of Microsoft’s biggest investment to date to win the battle against piracy in the PRC.

Microsoft China - Windows 7 Genuine Not the Same

Chinese ‘Shanzai’ Copycats

Before we finish, I thought it might be worth sharing some of the great copycat (‘山寨’ – Shānzhài) products that have come out of China over the last few years:

Google vs. Goojje

Google Logo

note: Google is currently blocked in China and can only be accessed with the use of a China VPN

Mercedes-Benz ‘C-Class’ vs. Geely ‘Merrie 300’

Mercedes C-Class vs Geely Merrie 300



Apple iPad vs. The iPed

The iPad
The iPed

Sony AA Batteries vs. Sqny AA Batteries

Sony AA batteries
Sqny Batteries

Nintendo Wii vs. Chintendo Vii

Nintendo Wii
Chintendo Vii

If these weren’t enough, the great Chinese imitators have even had a go at creating the next iPhone 5!

Have you got any copycat products you would like to share? Feel free to share them below.

Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»