Welcome to South Korea, the ‘Republic of Forgery’

“Some off the notorious copy-cating prevalent in the tech industry was highlighted on August 25 when a US court ruled S. Korean giant Samsung had ripped off Apple’s designs,” Michael Fitzpatrick reports for Fortune. “The most damning evidence: an internal memo from Samsung’s head of mobile communications JK Shin in which he suggested to his team, ‘Let’s make something like the iPhone.’ Truth is, however, that both China and South Korea have of late garnered a reputation for some spectacularly brass-necked imitations and attempts at fakery or plagiarism. ‘My country is such a joke sometimes I call it the Republic of Forgery,’ says Seoul-based author and critic Kim Kyung-Sook. ‘That’s after Woo Suk Hwang, [caught falsifying research on cloning] and all the fake luxury watches and fashion you see even worn by celebrities here.'”

Fitzpatrick reports, “Certain parties in Asia seem to revel in the chutzpah that is often accessory after the fake. China has chains of bogus Apple shops, phony Ferraris (a steal at just $10,000 US) and even once boasted a Potemkin multinational — a working facsimile of Japan’s NEC. The Korean peninsular has been no slouch either — delivering fake Starbucks, ‘Starpreya,’ and possibly even a fake Kim Jong-il. (A Japanese university professor claimed that Bill Clinton met a phony Kim in 2009.) The tiny country perched on a peninsula that sticks out of the Chinese continent like a swollen appendix might even be the first for simulated good looks. About 62% of South Korean women have had plastic surgery according to some figures.”

“Why so many forgeries? It might have something to do with South Korea’s education system says Tariq Hussain author of Diamond Dilemma: Shaping Korea for the 21st Century,” Fitzpatrick reports. “‘The education system is the cradle of cheating and bribery, one of Korea’s biggest diseases,’ he explains. ‘Titles count for a lot in Korea, academic titles even more. So given this excessive focus on such titles, there is an incentive to, well, bend the rules, or even cheat. And occasionally these things are uncovered and lead to the demise of the person involved.’ Plagiarism in all sectors of eduction is rife he adds.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Have a little pride, Samsungorea, will ya?

Samsungorea. It sounds like a disease because it is.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward W.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Is Samsung copying Apple’s patented earphones? It sure looks like it – September 8, 2012
Samsung mimics Apple product videos in Galaxy S III promo (with video) – August 24, 2012
Now slavish copycat Samsung attempts to knockoff Apple’s retail stores (with video) – August 23, 2012
Samsung: Shameless slavish copiers – August 13, 2012
Apple attorney: Instead of innovating, Samsung chose to copy iPhone and iPad – July 31, 2012
Apple: Google warned Samsung against slavishly copying our products – July 25, 2012
Now Samsung slavishly copies Apple’s Mac mini – June 1, 2012
Samsung Mobile chief ‘designer’ denies that Samsung’s instinct is to slavishly copy Apple – March 23, 2012
Slavish copier Samsung shamelessly steals Apple’s iPhone 3G design – again – January 3, 2012
Slavish copier Samsung uses girl actress from iPhone 4S ad for Galaxy Tab 8.9 spot (with video) – January 2, 2012
Now Samsung’s slavishly copying Apple’s iPad television ads (with videos) – December 30, 2011
Judge: Can you tell me which is iPad and which is yours? Samsung lawyer: ‘Not at this distance your honor’ – October 14, 2011
Why are Apple’s icons on the wall of Samsung’s store? – September 24, 2011
Apple to Samsung: ‘Blatant copying is wrong’ – April 18, 2011
Apple sues Samsung for attempting to copy look and feel of iPhone, iPad – April 18, 2011
Samsung’s ‘Instinct’ is obviously to make Apple iPhone knockoffs – April 1, 2008


  1. I used to be a big fan of MDN, but these days, I’m getting tired of seeing criticising the whole country because of one company. Don’t ruin yourself, MDN. Clear your head!!!

    1. MDN is not the author of the article; they are merely reporting it with links to the original piece. You might take your complaints there. MDN has provided their own take on the matter where they seem to single out Samsung and its corrupted (and growing) sad influence on S. Korea.

      Meanwhile, there are plenty of articles out there criticising Apple, often unfairly, and MDN reports those too, with their personal takes. Case in point: Anonymous hacked/released millions of iOS UDIDs etc. MDN didn’t hide it nor try to undermine it behind a BS spin. If you are new here, you would do well to lurk here for a bit to get a hang of this place.

    2. Samsung’s issues are systemic with the countries values so the argument is valid. For Samsung to have done what it did by copying means it’s ingrained in the culture. Instead of learning from this as most would they merely are annoyed and vengeful at those who frown at and stop their bad behavior, which they see as perfectly normal.

      1. Did you study abroad in Korea or did you just read a couple of Internet articles and make a summary judgement?

        Having actually been to Korea, I wouldn’t make such a spurious claim. Like all countries, Korea has a blend of “cultures” and any attempt to generalize an entire nation of people is intellectually dishonest, and comes across as ignorant and a little prejudiced.

        You also failed to recognize American influence and it’s culpability when speaking of the failings of “Korean culture”.

        1. I currently live and work in Korea and have so for almost for year. Studying in Korea is a different experience that actually working full time in a korean organization. What the article says is totally valid and germane. There are many good and credible books that will say the same things . Korea is not a blend of cultures is it one of the homogenous societies on the planet and it shows.

          The extreme focus and need for titles and prestige is deeply engrains in the people, culture and language. Example peoples names are rarely used people are are often addressed by their title or rank. This attitude didn’t come from the US this came from China. Centuries before Koreans ever saw their first American or any other westerner for that matter.

          America has only involved with Korea for a relatively short time. So you cannot hold America culpable for the Failings of Korean and society culture. Koreans are also blind to these failings and when someone points them out Koreans are quick to shout racism.

          The way Samsung does business is typical Korean business behavior which has been going on for decades and decades. Coping and espionage is SOP for large Korean businesses. This behavior is also very prevalent in Korean government AND education systems. Its tolerated and usually encouraged, Korean people don’t want to Risk their own individual prestige and image. Koreans will do almost anything to protect whatever image they have created for themselves. Thats Korean culture and thats a fact. There nothing racist or discriminatory by pointing that out.

    3. Sadly, MDN is corrupted by the behavior of a now profoundly and irreversibly corrupt politics. Political ignorant and hateful behavior is reflected in too much of MDN’s own behavior. To be fair, it’s part of the overall corruption of our current age in the USA. MDN has become just another ‘ditto’.

      Apologies South Korea from quite a few of us here.

      1. The apology tour ends this November.

        South Korea (which wouldn’t even exist without the exceptional U.S. of A., by the way) let itself be corrupted and basically owned by the serial patent and trade dress infringer, Samsung.

        The only apologies — and they should be profuse — should be coming from Samsung and South Korea to Apple and the U.S., respectively.

        1. hahaha, funny. do you even know how long Korean entire history? it’s over 5000 years. what about america? 400 years? you are not even origin but fucking blend with other race. you came there, you claimed it was your land? I think that you are nothing but Bavarian. Koreans still have many respect for each other everyday life. Korean language is composed of many respectful expression. what about English? NO. you americans have no respect at all. I mean that you lost it already. you don’t even know about it. you think that your country will be strong forever? there is no NO.1 history is repeated.

          1. Korea has only been an independent country for about 70 years and a democracy a little more than 20. That democracy still acts like a dictatorship. During that 70 years Korea has been 2 countries. Oddly South Koreans prefer it that way. They don’t want reunification. Both the government and its citizens.

            That blend of other races and groups is what makes America strong. FYI Bavarian is German. There is nothing wrong with being German. Koreans may show respect in front of you but are very quick to talk about people behind their backs. Koreans can be very two-faced. English has many polite expressions, Sir, Ma’am, Madam, Miss, Please, Thank you etc. Many Americans don’t think the US will be strong forever. In fact most Americans would probably agree that America is the weakest it has been in a very long time.

            Mr Ed it is obvious you are clueless. This is a tech website not a nationalist propaganda page. When you and other Koreans start making logical and rational arguments and discussion then people will start to listen. Your emotionally and nationalistic based rhetoric will only fall on deaf ears.

          2. @edward blundered: NO. you americans have no respect at all.

            Right. After I made a kind gesture toward South Korea as well as an apology for the 1-Dimensional PoliTards around here.

            Bad show, anonymous coward ‘edward’. You’ve worn out that moniker as everyone here associates ‘edward’ with ‘Samsung-Paid-Troll’. Please do STFU and shove your dirty Samsung money up your orifice. No one is interested in your opinion about anything, apart from Samsung.

  2. All this copying comes down from the top. A lot of these companies like Samsung are still controlled by the old school duds who does not place any value to what others value, such as innovative new ideas.

    And this is how they were educated and trained in order to “progress” as quickly.
    So it is totally okay to them to copy as much as they can.
    When countries like Korea, China and Japan started their industrial revolution, they had nothing, the only way was to copy. And that’s all they knew.

    When the younger generations take the helm, you will see much less copying.

      1. I’ll correct ya… The British (and other Europeans) brought things/knowledge with them when settling in America.

        You’d be correct if Native Americans knocked off a bunch of British products, but that’s not the case.

  3. > MacDailyNews Take: Have a little pride, Samsungorea, will ya?

    Would you respect someone who took pride in the turd in which they lived?

    Speaking of bribery, check out the South Korean court decision just days before the California ruling. Gee golly I wouldn’t want some South Korean douche suing me, but that appeared to be a paradigm example of bribery in a country where “what Samsung wants, Samsung gets.”

    Typed on a real iPhone. Suck on that one, Samsung.

    1. You are right. But the creative side of Korea is very small and hidden. Thing is that video is PSY being typical PSY with the parody and satire. HIs first 2 albums were censured by the government for being too satirical. Also despite the popularity of the video, PSY while popular isn’t really a huge star like other K-pop boy and girl bands. He is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to K-pop but not a bad one.

  4. I worked in consumer electronics in the1970s and 1980s. The Korean manufacturers were known then as blatant copycats of American and Japanese technology sold through what then was referred to as “value” brands. can’t afford Pioneer or Yamaha? Well, Goldstar has the (inferior) knock-off you want at a substantial discount. Well, Goldstar turned into LG (Lucky Goldstar). Samsung simply aimed at higher copycat status and ended up where they are today. South Korea is full of these companies, aided and abetted by the US government to show that the prehistoric and evil North Koreans are no match for the plucky and determined South Koreans. It happened in autos. It’s happened in electronics. Many of you cry about the bailout of the US auto industry. But, it’s difficult to compete when your government supports, aids and abets your efforts to produce knock off products at a substantial price differential. And, since we’re all one big NAFTA family, the idea that free trade is really free is just an illusion.

  5. The most recent assault by the koreans is the international entertainment and media industry (Hallyu), which is a propaganda push by the korean government to promote their copycat culture internationally. “The Presidential Council on Nation Branding” and “Voluntary Agency Network of Korea” (VANK) spend over $150 million dollars a year promoting and hyping the korean brand to the world.

  6. I, for one, am not going to associate the criminals at Samsung with the ENTIRE country of South Korea. Neither am I going to associate the corrupt South Korean courts the coddle Samsung with the ENTIRE country of South Korea. I do not comprehend this Guilt By Association nonsense.

    South Korea: I wish you well.

    Samsung: You’re getting what you deserve. Admit it, pay the penalties and stop whining. Overhaul your self-destructive company and get busy BEING a great technology company, NOT IMITATING a great technology company. Otherwise, all you have in store is more of the same, resulting in your inevitably successful corrosion and bankruptcy.

    1. Agreed, note my post above. The irony is these mouth-breathers do not accept, nor understand that America is most directly tied to all of it. Just gives their bigoted little black hearts a reason to foment.

      Given their politics, can’t say it was unexpected. Always love when one language speaking, never been out of the states types preach of “American excellence” while denigrating other nations and systems they haven’t the knowledge, experience or understanding of to form a valid opinion. Pathetic really..

      1. Those of us who grow up with cross-cultural experience have an advantage. It opens our minds to the facts of human diversity.

        I tell kids who graduate from high school to go live in the working world for awhile before going to college in order to see what the ‘real’ world is like. There is no better motivator for doing well in college.

        I also tell them to get the hell out of their country ASAP to see how the rest of the world lives. Life in our geocentric US culture is incredibly aberrant from how the average human lives on the rest of the planet.

        With knowledge and experience comes wisdom. With wisdom comes an appreciation for the fact that in nature, diversity rules. There is no such thing as a viable monoculture. Also, thinking in only two dimensions, makes you a cartoon. Thinking in only one dimension makes you a stick. Fetch Fido! Fetch!

  7. @Derek
    I totally agree with you. Having cross cultural and international experience is an advantage. One I am glad I have and want my future children to have.

    You said there is no such thing as a viable monoculture and that thinking in 2 dimensions makes you a cartoon and thinking in one direction makes you a stick. Korea is that stick and its a cartoon. Koreans are taught and trained from an early age to value a monoculture and that oneness is important. This training (some say brainwashing) is constant, ongoing and severe. Putting forward new ideas and standing out is not valued like it is in the US and other countries.

    Samsung is a symptom of this culture. Koreans typically just follow the leader regardless if they think he is right or wrong. Often times the leader is that position because of his age….not his ability. South Korea isn’t guilty by association. But South Korea has many issues just like any other nation but is generally oblivious or dismissive of these issues. What is happening with Samsung, Korean courts etc is highly indicative of Korean culture and society.

  8. Pathetic article, marginally racist. As an American who lives in Korea and speaks the language I am embarrassed at the low standard of what passes for knowledge about the outside world in the U.S. press. Samsung is not the whole of South Korea anymore than Goldman Sachs of America.

  9. I am amazed how America becomes the verbal punching bag by the “enlightened” or progressive when an american makes an observation of another country. I can say other countries make silly ass and stupid comments about Americans. I have been to been to other countries and I hear how 1) all americans are gun happy, 2) all americans love fast food, 3) americans never contribute culturally to the world, and so on. I usually explain to them that what they hear or see on their television is not all true of americans. Therefore all you elitist pinheads look at yourself in the mirror when you accuse America of being ignorant and stupid, you guys are doing the samething you claim to be above the simple mindness.

    1. Sure enough, along comes a partisan to take issue with the dispute of “American Excellence”.

      Sorry to offend your patriotic sensibilities pal, but if the shoe fits, wear it.

      American pop culture is a cancer, a farce. Our national debates childish and orchestrated, our souls bought and paid for. I’ve traveled all over this world, and there are plenty of great places, great people and great culture. Places with REAL community. America has more than it’s fair share of social and economic problems, it isn’t perfect, it isn’t superior , it’s just different.

      It’s not all bad, that isn’t what was said, but partisans like you cannot listen to what is really being said, you just hear “America = Bad” and start the attacks, name calling and cries of “commie liberal” and more often than not refer back to some fantastical memory of times past when it was better, of course ignoring any facets of this time that run counter to your narrative.

      I’m sorry you cannot cast off your programing and look with a more critical eye. Being able to objectively look at things is the first step towards fixing them.

      America influence (therefore culpability) is directly tied to Korean culture. America has helped make Korea what it is today, like it or not, that sir is fact.

      As to your numbered points, not sure how those comments could be viewed as stupid, but I will respond:
      1. The rest of the world doesn’t share Americas obsession with firearms, they do not understand the zealous arguments. Combine our insane defense spending, worldwide military influence, violent video games, and movies. Can you not objectively stand back and admit, that it is in fact a bit over the top?

      2. This one is just silly, we have fast food everywhere, we are exporting it like mad, and we are (according to national statistics) FAT. The rest of the world shops in small markets, enjoys fresh food and doesn’t share of love of PFG and conagra foods. Frankly they are smarter than us in this regard.

      3. We don’t contribute culture, we exert influence. What little culture we do export is pop culture and our pop culture is garbage. Kim Kardasion, Paris Hilton, Mylie Cyrus, lindsey lohan, TMZ, Facebook? Steroid addled athletes? fast food.

      What culture that is so great are we spreading/sharing? Rather than tell me it isn’t true, how about you provide some examples to prove your point, what awesome culture am I overlooking?

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