Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Fake But Not So Fake Street in Wuxi, China

In a post on Beijing Cream titled "This Wuxi Street Is The Fakest In China", Bernd Chang shared a photo that has been making the rounds in China:

empty store with Sffcccks Coffee sign from

Chang wrote:
H&N, Zare, Hugo BGSS, SFFCCCKS Coffee: these are just some of the counterfeits of famous brands — not the same as “famous counterfeits”… or is it? — you can find on a shopping street in Wuxi, Jiangsu province...

Maybe it’s a homage.
I would like to add some additional context. First comes from this tweet by Chris Buckley, a reporter for The New York Times:
A key point mentioned by Buckley is that the stores are vacant. That's not to say the signs aren't interesting, but it's a different story than if these were signs for open stores and not possibly just placeholders.

The second piece of additional context comes from the new Kaifu Wanda Plaza I recently visited in Changsha. In the "pedestrian promenade" which surrounds the main building, I saw a number of similar signs imitating popular brands. For example:

Vacant store at Kaifu Wanda Plaza in Changsha with "Sterbkcus Coffee" sign

As in Wuxi, all of the signs were for vacant stores. I didn't see any similar examples there for a non-vacant store and the shopping center included a large number of what appeared to be genuine foreign brand stores.

Many examples of non-vacant stores imitating foreign brands can be found in China. I've mentioned two examples here and here specifically for Starbucks. So I question whether Wuxi should be awarded the "fakest street" award. If the signs were for open stores, then it would at least top anything I've come across in China. Otherwise, what I saw in Changsha indicates the street in Wuxi is not very unique.

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