First off, thanks to BirdAbroad for what appears to be, single-handedly breaking this story and enabling it to go viral!
Chinese officials are investigating five fake Apple stores in the southwestern city of Kunming. The investigation follows a blog post with pictures last week by BirdAbraod who lives in Kunming in the Yunnan province. The blatant and flagrate use of Apple's designs, branding, and products, demonstrates the complete disregard intellectual property rights and how far suspected thieves will go.
Here's one of the photos of the stores under suspicion:
This of course is an illustration of what most American companies have come to accept now about China - intellectual property and product designs are at high risk of being stolen or counterfeited. This is quite frankly the case, whether a company is outsourcing operations to China or not. In fact, many of the recent attacks of US companies are suspected to have originated in China. However, extending a company's footprint abroad by establishing business operations on the ground in China, certainly further increases the risks.
For most large companies and smaller companies that are growing, it's not a matter of if your moving into China with your business operations or product, it's a matter of when. This elevates the importance of implementing effective information risk strategies, both for operations that will be on the ground in China, as well as outside of China.
I've blogged about Intellectual Property Theft Alleged in China in the past here > CYBERsitter Theft, as well as the importance of targeting High Value Data for Information Governance here > Information Governance. A company's intellectual property clearly should be viewed as High Value.
Most importantly, companies need to ensure that they have effective strategies and governance in place for layered defense. They need to know how, where, and who will be accessing their intellectual property here and aboard, and through their strategies and governance, make informed risk based decisions for their business. Protections will come in the form of people, process, and technology.
There's no silver bullet.
Here are some key links on this story: