Apple Inc.'s problems with Chinese knockoffs have been about as bad as it gets.
As of late 2008, factories in mainland China were "exporting enough counterfeits to single-handedly supply the world with fake Apple products," according to a cable written by U.S. diplomats in Beijing at the time, and which was published by WikiLeaks last week.
The missive details Apple's efforts to hire a team of anti-counterfeiting specialists to stem the international deluge of fake Apple products, many of which originate in Chinese factories. "As amazing as it seems," the cable said, Apple had no global anti-counterfeiting team until early 2008, long after its iPod had become a global hit.
Apple has a fraught relationship with China. The nation has become one of the company's largest markets for its products, accounting for billions of dollars in sales in the recent quarter. But China is also a global hub of piracy and counterfeiting.