If you have been living in Asia as long as I have, you can easily spot many Chinese copycats on the streets. A travel around China’s busiest shopping districts will throw up such delights as watch retailer Owega, sports brands Adadas and Hike, fast food chain store OFC, and luxury store Dolce&Banana.
But it is clear that the copycats do not exist only in the retail industry. A young loans banker at an international firm told me that he received an email from a Chinese bank the other day. It was an invitation letter for a new deal and, at first glance, appeared quite normal.
However, once he took a closer look, he was taken aback. Wasn’t this the same template for an invitation letter he had seen so many times before? He realised that the Chinese bank had copied his bank’s invitation letter format, changing only the logos, the company name and a few of the numbers.
He was rightly shocked and no doubt decided not to participate in the loan. But it got me wondering whether he could have had a bit more fun with the situation.
He should have sent them a new template for future loan deals, adding unique covenants that, perhaps, funnelled all of the use of proceeds to his personal bank account.
That would not, of course, be ethical. But the lesson would soon be learned.