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Monday, June 14, 2010


I knew about the gray market in China for cloned, counterfeit, or other wise dubious electronics for the burgeoning Chinese middle class, but didn't know it had it's own term: shanzhai

This EETimes article talks in detail about how shanzhai has evolved in the last few years: Inside a Shan Zhai GPS unit and the back door to market leadership

This is why security in embedded systems is important. Even if, as the article above contends, the shanzhai industry is moving beyond cloning other people's IP and innovating on their own, there is a group of companies with proven track records in doing what ever it takes to get the BOM cost of a device down into the range that will satisfy the huge demand from the Chinese middle class.

As a side note, Ideo even identifies shanzhai as a design pattern!



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