A loyal reader who has followed me to this blog from my old one has commented that my lack of obsession with chocolate – a regular feature of my old blog – has made him doubt the authenticity of my posts. I now seek to rectify this by drawing a cunning link between chocolate and financial crime, in the form of counterfeiting.
In 1982 Italian chocolate maker Ferrero Rocher began selling its gold-wrapped products (beloved of ambassadors everywhere) in China, under the name Jinsha. Four years later, Ferrero registered its own name and trademark graphic label (an oval shape with lace) with the Chinese Trademark Office – but not the Jinsha name. Ooops. Chinese copycat Zhangjiagang Dairy Factory One immediately began producing similar chocolates under the name Jinsha – and cheekily applied for its own trademark in 1990! The application was refused, but Factory One carried on making the chocs. In fact, they won many awards in local, national and even international competitions – and became more popular in China than the Ferrero originals. However, their sales took a nose-dive when hundreds of boxes exported to South Korea were found to be contaminated with the little white larvae of a common moth, and videos of the wormy creatures emerging from the chocs appeared all over YouTube. You’d think that would put me off chocolate, wouldn’t you? No such luck.