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Dell in the Dock in China
[August 04, 2006]

Dell in the Dock in China

TMCnet Contributing Editor
US computer manufacturer Dell is facing fraud charges in China. According to a recent news report, a court in Shanghai is set to hear a petition against the American firm while consumers in Beijing are also gearing up for legal action.

According to published reports, Dell (News - Alert) customers in China’s Jilin and Anhui provinces could be next in line in filing charges.

The reports claim customers are angry over Dell substituting Intel (News - Alert) Conroe T2300E CPU for Intel Conroe T2300 in their laptops without mentioning informing them of the substitution.

Zhang Ming, a Shanghai customer found that the CPU in his Dell notebook was an Intel T2300E and not an Intel T2300, which his order stated, when he tried to upgrade it three days after delivery. After immediately posting his complaint on the Internet and recording Intel's response to his complaint, hundreds of Chinese Dell buyers also checked their own laptops and confirmed the same result, the news report stated.

In a letter to the consumers' association in Shanghai and Zhejiang, Dell apologized for the "ambiguity and misunderstanding" caused by Dell's failure to make corresponding adjustments on the name of the processor.

Dell also stressed that the chip replacement would not cause any loss to users either in terms of prices or usage. But buyers in China do not appear convinced by Dell’s explanation.

The charges against Dell have come at a time when a growing number of foreign companies have started filing cases against local firms for trademark violations.

In June, mobile phone giant Nokia (News - Alert) filed a suit in a Beijing court against two Chinese firms for illegal product copying.

It has asked the court to stop Song Xun Da Zhong Ke Electronic Shenzhen and Shenzhen Telsda Mobile Communication Industry Development Co. from manufacturing and marketing its 7260 model mobile phone.

The suit Nokia filed against the two Chinese firms also sought $62,000 (500,000 yuan) in damages. Nokia spokesperson Thomas Jonsonn had said in a news release that the company also named the Chinese distributors of the phone model as co-defendents in the case. The distributors named are Beijing Tongwanbao Commerce & Trade Co. Ltd. and Beijing Xin Tongwanbao Commerce & Trade Co. Ltd.

Most recently multinationals such as Wal-Mart, Starbucks and Intel have also filed trademark lawsuits in China.
Kumar Amitav Chaliha has worked as an editor, reporter, writer and a columnist in India and the United States. He has been writing for both print and the Web on topics including energy, chemicals, steel, wire and cable, telecom, IT, and doing business in Asia. He holds a master's degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University.

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