A Jenny Bakery Shanghai store scam has angered the Hong Kong brand’s owners – not to mention Shanghai city officials and hundreds of customers who queued for hours only to find the cookies were copies.
In the latest example of Mainland China’s seemingly contagious penchant for copying brands and labels and ripping off other people’s IP, crooked entrepreneurs launched a promotional campaign for the Shanghai opening of popular Hong Kong baker Jenny Bakery. It was even located in a respected shopping centre – the Global Harbour mall in the city’s Putuo District.
Chinese media say that promotional material for the new store suggested the maker of the “most tasty cookies in Hong Kong had come to Shanghai”.
The difference was in the signage: The Shanghai store bore the branding JENNY BAKERY (in capitals); the original Hong Kong business signage is Jenny Bakery. The Shanghai store even sold similarly packaged products: cookies in tins with teddy bear graphics which bore a strong likeness to the Hong Kong packaging.
But such is the laxness of Chinese IP laws, it appears all that Putuo District city officials could do was reprimand the copycat scammers. They have been told to make it clear it has no association with the Hong Kong business and warned they could be fined if investigations prove they deliberately misled customers.
The scammers had priced boxes of cookies at 98 yuan, or US$15.80 – nearing double the price of the original Hong Kong product, which sells for HK$70, or about US$9.
While Jenny Bakery made it clear it does not have any stores in the mainland and that all its cookies are handmade, JENNY BAKERY maintained it had done nothing wrong by selling cookies baked at a factory in Shenzhen. The company said it was a legally registered brand and its business is legitimate.
The Shanghai store has since closed, but not before affixing a notice to its door claiming it was the only legal owner of the brand name in the mainland – which is actually true; it was registered in Shenzhen earlier this year.