Monday, September 8, 2008

WangFuJing Street.

There will be more about Wangfujing and Tiananmen square later, but I wanted to place a quick post about Wangfujing.

The first thing I saw would have made OSHA cringe or possibly faint. There was a man outside the McDonalds on a step ladder, changing a light. The step ladder was being supported by two men holding it steady because it was perched on four plastic armchairs they had pulled from the side of the restaurant.

Wangfujing is a foot and bike traffic-only street. No cars unless you are a government official. (Unfortunately, there are a lot of government officials in China.) There were a few interesting sites on Wangfujing from a business study tour perspective. One was the Jade Shop (can't remember the exact name) that had a very close replica of McDonalds golden arches. This would have been trademark hijacking in the States or Europe, but in China it was okay. When you register a trademark, you have to register it in every specific industry you expect to trade in or don't want others to trade in. McDonalds obviously did not think to make a trademark restriction in the jade trade industry, so copying (somewhat closely) the McDonalds logo was not a violation.

Another was a Li Ning (Chinese athletic footwear store with a logo quite similar to Nike) store across the street from a Nike store. I would assume in this case it was Nike who opened their store second, in an attempt to pull profits away from Li Ning. There is a pretty fierce battle going on in China right now between Li Ning, Nike and Adidas. Adidas spent $80 million on the Olympics for the right to be its largest official sponsor, but then Li Ning trumped them by having their namesake, former gymnastics olympian Li Ning himself, fly across the Bird's Nest stadium on a zip line to light the cauldron and officially start the olympics. And he didn't pay a penny for this service. Nike, on the other hand, has spent millions promoting its sponsored Chinese athletes prior to the olympics, only to see many of them (Liu Xiang the gold-medal hurdler, for example) fail to do well at the games. So seeing those two stores facing one another across Wangfujing street had a bit more significance to me.

More on Wangfujing tomorrow. We haven't been to the little appetizer night-market street yet, where you can eat deep-fried scorpion on a stick....

No comments: