CGPods wireless headphones - why do the Chinese fake the original?


An age-old theme that can be repeated year after year for different companies is how Chinese

factories are trying to ride the wave of aliensuccess and steal a popular product that doesn't belong to them. The plot of this story is outrageously simple: the previous generation of CGPods headphones entered the market in 2019, their clones immediately appeared, which multiplied until in 2022 everything came to a ridiculous outcome of the plot, but more on that later. First, about the CGPods brand itself and their headphones of the same name.

Judging by the feedback from CGPods users on the web,The Russian, or rather, the Tyumen brand CGPods causes completely different assessments and reactions, from total rejection to undisguised admiration, and the latter can refer to anything - from the headphones themselves to the methods of their promotion. More recently, a video appeared on the network with heavily undressed girls who praise headphones, and at the same time take various poses, there are practically no clothes on them. The video went viral, numerous indignant reviews flew to the company, but Tyumen people deny it and claim that the enemies removed it in order to compromise the brand. I didn’t hold a candle, but the effect of such a “compromise” is exactly the opposite, so I don’t believe in enemies. The fact is that Mikhail Fadeev's advertising agency has been promoting this product in Russia since the first days of its existence, building a story around it, and has achieved significant success in this. Among the B-brands, there are practically no well-known brands of headphones from Russian companies, the exception is the same CGPods headphones. I've seen these headphones in the hands of a wide range of people, from those who can be called rational buyers to trendy young people, the latter has always puzzled me. How did they get into the ranks of CGPods users? The answers were different, it is impossible to fit them into one. For example, in Novosibirsk I heard the following story: AirPods are lost, new ones are expensive, CGPods headphones were bought for a while in order to save up the required amount, but in the end they stayed forever. The review of a girl from St. Petersburg sounds different: she chose according to the price / quality ratio, she came across an article about inexpensive headphones, bought it and was ultimately satisfied.

At the advertising agency serving the brand,always bet on large, spacious materials that understand the dignity of headphones. Lots of illustrations to accompany each statement. I specifically looked for one of the partner materials that came out with us recently, you can wonder how it looks.

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CGPods in the wireless headphone marketsurprisingly popular, the birth of the brand happened, and sales confirm this. Of course, Apple or Samsung is oh so far from the sales volume, but for the B-brand, the volume is large (more than 150 thousand sales in 2021) and outperforms many other companies that specialize in a huge number of products and have a completely different marketing weight.

The Chinese are very sensitive to any success andbuild their sales, starting from other people's merits. Why develop your own product, if you can take something from someone else and be successful, play a little trick and get the “same” product for less money and with more profit. Any successful manufacturer faces being copied by the Chinese, and this is a kind of mark of success in what the company does. Now the Tyumen people from CGPods have such a label.

By pumping money into the development of headphones, improvingtheir quality, as well as marketing, in CGPods achieved sales growth for themselves and at the same time opened Pandora's box, Chinese factories began to copy the success of Tyumen CGPods.


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I will make a reservation that the numbers in the model name are counted from the first version of the headphones, the new generation, which has significant differences, receives a new number in the name.

So. The first version of CGPods 4 headphones.2 had a recognizable aluminum body, a number of improvements that distinguished them from the Chinese blank. The standard approach in ODM production is to take someone else's workpiece and finish it to your own ideas of beauty. For people who are far from the intricacies of the market, I will say that ODM development is a blank created by a Chinese factory around which you can build a product, add or remove additional features, change components, making the product cheaper or more expensive. In theory, this is a constructor with which you can build something unique with the right approach. In practice, most companies take a blank and do nothing with it, just hang their nameplate, and that's it. CGPods are on the right track when they diligently create their product from a blank, complementing it in accordance with their vision of good headphones.

What did the factory do, which, by order of the Tyumen peoplefrom СGPods brought to mind and eventually produced these headphones? I stole them and began to sell them under other names, for example, this is how the Iskil TWS-BS01 appeared. At the first stage, the factory always tries to sell the goods cheaper, and at the same time get more profit. For this, additional improvements, expensive components are thrown out, the main thing is that the product looks exactly like the original, but costs less. The difference in cost between Tyumen CGPods headphones and Iskil headphones from China was about 20-25% minimum, Iskill headphones, of course, sold cheaper. Which quickly led to the emergence of buyers who, judging by the reviews, are sincerely sure that they really saved money and bought exactly the same thing. People stubbornly did not understand that the filling is different and this affects the quality of the final product. Is it the same factory? Yes. Is the design the same? Yes! So, the product is the same in everything. And they read online reviews on CGPods, not Iskill.

The next stage of evolution for the Chinese factory isthis is a complete copy of the original product that it produces. At the end of 2019, the Chinese factory was faced with the fact that copies were not selling as well as the original, and they simply began to produce more headphones. The original ones went to CGPods, copies without this name were sold at a lower price. With no marketing, warranty, or tax costs, the Chinese factory could afford such a trick, which it did. Let's focus on this - without a penny of investment in finalizing the initially, in fact, raw product, without investing in advertising, in promoting the product, the Chinese factory got the opportunity to sell a product known to customers by design.

For any company, such behavior is contractualfactories are a stab in the back, it is impossible to develop your product, as its sales are undermined by copies that are no different from the original. In the modern world, the sales model is built on the basis of different segments, and when you lose even a relatively small part of sales due to the factory parasitizing on you, you have less money for development. And in CGPods, the refinement of the headphones has become one of the key differentiators compared to other brands, which made them popular.

History is cyclical, a new model of CGPods 5 headphones.0 2020 was also initially copied with worse and cheaper components, then at the end of 2021 they began to copy entirely. Look at the boards of these headphones, they differ like heaven and earth.

On the left is the CGPods X board, on the right is the Chinese counterfeit board for CGPods 5.0

At the end of 2021, CGPods choose anothercontract factory, they come there with the next iteration of their product - CGPods X. The company initially did not plan to deviate from the usual name of the headphones - CGPods 5.0, but as soon as it became obvious that the market was littered with numerous low-quality fakes under 5.0, the Tyumen changed their minds and changed the name of the new modification on CGPods X. Inside, the new headphones are very different from those released as CGPods 5.0 in the previous (2020) year.


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I will list the main changes in the current (as of mid-summer 2022) version of CGPods X headphones compared to the previous version of 2020 CGPods 5.0:

  • USB Type C connector instead of microUSB;
  • Headphones are taped to protect them from water (in older versions and in Chinese fakes - latches);
  • The contact pad of the headphones has been tripled - they hold better on magnets in the case, charging is 20% faster;
  • New Bluetooth antenna with a larger area, more reliable and stable connection;
  • Improved speaker design, better sound;
  • A better and more expensive 400 mAh battery, and not a cheap 380 mAh battery, as in Chinese fakes (for headphones, the difference is noticeable, and the more expensive battery has more charge cycles);
  • New board developed in 2021, less components, less power consumption;
  • Updated software, which affects the stability of the work.

I repeat:The original plan at CGPods was to promote the product under the already well-known model name CGPods 5.0, but the Chinese just started sending buyers on AliExpress headphones in an unmarked box, and inside was a 2020 CGPods 5.0 model, not an updated version, since the X model is already being produced on new factory. On the ears themselves there was a G logo, which is a reflection of the Tyumen brand CGPods. There was a need to dissociate ourselves from the old product, which was stolen from the previous, old factory (since the summer of 2022 it is very easy to distinguish - the microUSB connector is fake).

Starting September 2022, CGPods will be promotinga new model exactly as CGPods X (the same modified version of CGPods 5.0 wireless headphones that has been sold in the company's company store since the summer as 5.0). The price remains exactly the same, the filling and its changes are described above - this is a completely different product compared to what it was half a year ago. At the same time, externally, the headphones look plus or minus the same, they give out a novelty only a new connector and larger contact pads on the headphones themselves.

No one can predict when and how the Chinesefactories will start copying CGPods X, I think they will try to disguise their headphones as a brand popular in Russia. If you look at the same AliExpress, you can find different headphones, but in the search line, auto-selection even offers the option “CGPods 5.0 original”. That is, the existence of fakes and variations has become known to many. The form factor chosen by CGPods a few years ago has become so popular that there are even Chinese headphones in this design for 350 rubles - you can imagine what's inside!

And there is a variant of CGPods 4.2 headphones on old hardware and for other money, also a clone.

There are not millions of such headphones, but dozens of different ones.models at very different prices. Buyers who still believe that there are Chinese Robin Hoods who sell quality goods for a penny out of love for art are greatly mistaken. This is a product that is worth the money, at best a copy of the old CGPods, but not a new current version of the Tyumen headphones.

Is it possible to fight against theft of models onChinese factories with ODM? For small companies, this is an almost unbelievable story, you can fight, but, objectively speaking, it is extremely difficult to reverse the trend in your favor. There is only one way out of here - to run faster and release more and more new headphones in which to change and change components again and again, improve and improve quality and give your customers a local guarantee (which is important for many). And constantly talk about what you do and why your product is better than it was a couple of years ago. Why does a new product outperform Chinese clones of yours, but an old product, and even the difference in cost does not give a win for the buyer.

You can not like marketing from CGPods, intrusiveimages that are created in advertising communications, but it is hard to deny that CGPods have become a remarkable phenomenon for the Russian market and are sold in more than noticeable volumes. Considering the cost in the region of 5,000 rubles, the complete absence of federal retail, focusing only on its own sales (the Tyumen brand sells its headphones only via the Internet in order to level out the cheating of intermediaries), the story looks almost fantastic: the stars converged at one point and everything turned out right.

The marketing budget of Tyumen residents is noticeable forB-brand, but sinks against the background of the same Huawei, Samsung and other companies. But the volumes are quite comparable to those given by Russian buyers to top international brands. The ability to build communication with the buyer and constantly monitor user feedback (and, most importantly, listen to them) is expensive, and CGPods did it, sales confirm this fact, they cannot come from nowhere. This means that fakes and copies of such headphones will appear more and more often, the first - at any time, the second - with a long delay in relation to the original.

But the main conclusion to be drawn is externallythe similar design of Chinese fakes never guarantees that the same product will be inside. And the situation that has developed around the Tyumen CGPods headphones confirms this in the best possible way.

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