You know Sennheiser's pissed when it holds a press conference just to talk about its anti-counterfeit efforts. In Guangzhou yesterday, the German audio company brought along two executives to debut its new authentication technologies on its retail packaging: a shiny Tesa PrioSpot authenticity label plus a "fool-proof" online look-up system. For the former, President of Corporate Services Volker Batels claims it's treated as securely as one would with cash money, in the sense that it has many visible and invisible features.
There's also a QR code plus its corresponding label ID printed below the foil, and scanning the former or entering the latter on qr-sennheiser.com returns a virtual copy of the foil label plus a visual description. If what you have matches the label on the screen then hakuna matata. But if the code's been looked up many times already, the website will also give you a warning like in the screenshot after the break -- chances are the label's been duplicated, so potential buyers should always check this before handing the money over.
Marc Vincent, the company's President of Greater China, aims to have this "urgent project" covering most products by the end of this year. "We have been fighting counterfeits for five years with some result, but now we have officially declared war on counterfeiting," Mr. Vincent said in a stern voice. "Manufacturers of counterfeit products are social parasites. They really damage our reputation."
Perhaps the more interesting takeaway from the event was Sennheiser's seemingly tight partnership with Guangzhou Customs, which overlooks twelve nearby cities (excluding Shenzhen). Deputy Commissioner Li Dan revealed that last year her department intercepted over ¥23 million (about $3.6 million) worth of counterfeit goods in courier channels, amongst which were 500 Sennheiser fakes with a total value of ¥1 million (about $157,300). We'd imagine Shenzhen Customs would have much higher figures.
Additionally, the Guangzhou authority helped Sennheiser shut down many bogus online stores and manufacturers, followed by fining and imprisoning those "social parasites" plus destroying the piles of counterfeits without exception (which reminds us of "Operation Pure Wind"). When they're not busy kicking down doors, Sennheiser also provides training to help the agents spot the KIRFs in both import and export channels. With China soon becoming Sennheiser's second largest market, it's no wonder that the company is cozying up to the authorities. Beats Electronics, an obviously way more serious victim of counterfeit in China, could definitely use a little help here.