Counterfeit glue, rat poison, and international trade #makerbusiness
Planet Money’s most recent episode (#900!) tells a roller-coaster ride of international intrigue and counterfeit manufacturing.
…back in 2002, ABRO’s sales started to dip. Tim heard from a customer that counterfeit ABRO goods in China might be causing the problem. So, he flew over to investigate. What he discovered– the extent of the fraud–was shocking. And even more surprising, the company posing as ABRO insisted they were the real ABRO.
The episode is a lot of fun and takes a few interesting turns (especially for a show about a glue company), but it also does a good job highlighting how complex the trade network is, and how hard it is for U.S. companies to deal with Chinese counterfeits. Spoiler alert, the story ends well for ABRO, but not all companies are so fortunate.
One of the purported reasons the American company was able to triumph is that the glue industry isn’t really that important to China. If the company that was getting ripped off was a semiconductor company, it might have been different story. Without stricter top down enforcement in China, it seems unlikely that this will ever really be under control. This is whats at stake, and what a lot of the current trade war is about.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.