"Just as I suspected! Totally legit looking stuff! Where are the human noses? The misspellings? The choking hazards?"
— Strong Bad (complaining when a knockoff isn't shoddy enough), Homestar Runner
A Shoddy Knockoff Product is dolled up to look like a popular and/or quality product, but being dolled up is the only work that went into it. You'd be lucky if it even functioned at all.
These could very well be used as a target of Convenience Store Gift Shopping, especially if they resemble a game that an ignorant relative thinks the recipient likes.
The Evil Twin of the Well Intentioned Replacement. While both tropes are about poorly made substitutes, that trope is with the genuine hope of making up for the thing being substituted. This trope is about just plain, old ripping you off.
Compare Bland-Name Product (to show a popular product in a show without stepping on trademarks), The Mockbuster (which does have a similar goal to this trope), and Unlicensed Game (an index of Shoddy Knockoff Video Games that have their own pages).
Contrast Follow the Leader (there is a clear influence, but it's not trying to make you think it's the actual work its following), Serial Numbers Filed Off (It's almost the same thing as another, but at the very least changes anything copyrighted by someone else).
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Anime and Manga
Kochikame: A chapter of begins with a police officer showing his new Porsche to the main characters. They were skeptical at for costing only a million yen and illegitimate designs including right-handed steering, front engine, etc. It turns out be a Daihatsu with a Porsche exterior. They went to the dealer who happen to sell faux high value cars with economy car interiors using names such as, "Porschu", "Furrari", and "BNW".
One episode of Keroro Gunsou had Keroro hoping to get his hands on an old knock-off Gundam model kit called "Dangale". Dangale is actually based on a real-life line of Gundam knock-offs called Gangale, or Gungal. As with Dangale in the show, Gungal models are actually sought after collector's items because they're so rare.
In one chapter of Alyosha, Alyosha seemingly wins a PS3 at a carnival game and gives it to her friend Ryunosuke. Upon closer examination, he discovers it's a "P53", a Chinese knockoff with 53 games built into the console.
This is one of the running gags associated with both China and Hong Kong in Axis Powers Hetalia.
In the Diamond and Pearl arc of Pokémon, Team Rocket takes advantage of the Pokétch craze by churning out counterfeit Pokétches, which turn out to have mind control properties over the town's Pokémon. Dawn gets a real Pokétch at the end of the episode.
Parodied in Coming to America, in which Mr. McDowell lives in perpetual terror of the McDonalds lawyers coming down on him for his fast-food restaurant McDowells, which aside from a few cosmetic changes is a blatant McDonalds rip-off.
In Serendipity the heroine and her wacky sidekick are vacationing in New York. The sidekick is thrilled to buy a "Prado" purse. The heroine is quick to remind her that at least her fake actually says "Prada" on it.
In the Kamikaze Girls novel, the protagonist's father sells knock-offs like this, and at one point she mocks him (in the narration, not to his face) for thinking that changing the brand name slightly will keep him from getting in trouble for it (which he does).
All in the Family: The 1973 episode "Hot Watch," where Archie buys a designer Onega watch from a street salesman for $25, a great bargain for a watch that might be worth $300. Designer watch? Onega? A bargain? Nope – it's a cheap, poorly made watch that breaks within minutes, but Archie – and Mike, who is concerned that the watch might have been stolen – don't find out the truth until a jeweler points all this out. (Actually, the designer watch is "Omega").
In the short lived sitcom DAG, someone tried to get an Armani suit, but couldn't afford it. A friend promised him a suit just as good, but got an A!mani suit, and it was nothing like the suit he saw in the store.
On Cheers Norm's favorite low-price restaurant sold things which were nearly meat, like "Baff" and "Loobster."
One episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp expands on a clip from The Apprentice in which Alan Sugar talks about his "Kelvin Kleins" by mentioning all the other hokey gear he buys (he's rich because he buys these cheap knockoffs), including Knikey trainers and Christine Deeyor perfume.
"Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan": Randy Disher proudly shows off the new watch he bought from a guy who knew a guy. When Sharona dismisses it as junk, he insists that it can give him the time in multiple time zones. "It's 5:30 here, in Denver, it's 3:30, Los Angeles, 12:17; and in Paris, France... time has stopped."
Generally subverted in White Collar since Neal is a great forger and he goes to great lengths to make sure that his forgeries are not shoddy and can easily pass off as the real thing. In one episode he has to intentionally make a lesser quality forgery because he needs the FBI to think that the painting has always been a fake and the original was destroyed during World War 2. In another episode a gangster intends to sell knockoffs of rare high priced whiskey and Neal goes undercover as a shady brewer who uses artificial food flavoring to make cheap whiskey taste like the real thing.
A recurring character on Saturday Night Live (played by Dan Aykroyd) is a sleazy businessman jumping aboard the latest fads with horrendous products. The Halloween costumes stand out in this department, with "The Invisible Man" (an all-black outfit and ski-mask, making it easy for kids to get hit by a car while Trick-or-Treating), and "The Human Torch" (a bunch of oil-soaked rags stapled to a shirt and a lighter).
In the "You Better Shop Around" episode of Married... with Children, Peg orders Al to go and buy an air conditioner to deal with a heat wave they are experiencing.
Peg: You can get one of the knock-off products, like our Fridgi-door refridgerator, R-C—Hey TV...
Roger in FoxTrot frequently gets nailed by this. During the digital pets craze, his daughter Paige wanted a Tamagotchi. He thought a Tamagrouchy was close enough. It wasn't.
Roger: The guy told me they were the same thing.
Paige: Daddy, Tamagotchis are cute! They hatch out of eggs and sleep and play and eat and grow! This thing's just plain nasty.
Roger: Paige, give it a chance! You've only had it one day!
Tamagrouchy: Yeah, listen to baldy.
One particular Boondocks story arc involved the granddad getting Huey a "Phony Funstation" as a present. He then tries to justify it by saying it came with a free griddle.
Done by Stern Pinball as a test run to their own Batman pinball game; two years after its release, Stern came out with a small number of "Standard Model" tables for sale exclusively through CostCo, knocking $700 off the price and stripping out several major playfield elements in the process.
They did something similar with Iron Man a few months later, selling "Iron Man Classic" tables that removed several components and used a cheaper cabinet for $1,700 less than the original's price.
Apparently Stern was pleased with the results, as in 2012 they unveiled "The Pin" line of consumer-oriented bargain tables, sharing a common cabinet and playfield design. Transformers: The Pin was released in 2012, while The Avengers: The Pin came out in 2013. Compared to the originals, "The Pin" games are limited to two players, have a lighter plastic backbox, removed the dot-matrix display, changed the playfield and rules, and omit the music and sound effects. Needless to say, many pinball players consider them Shoddy Knockoffs of the originals.
In the Cabin Pressure episode "Limerick", Martin buys what he thinks is a genuine Patek Philippe watch from a shady salesman in Hong Kong. He eventually discovers that he was tricked into buying a Shoddy Knockoff.
Peter Kay makes a whole routine about growing up in a British/Irish family that had to count the pennies. A favourite stand-up sketch is called Why Do Mums Buy Crap Coke? and relates his childhood angst that when at the supermarket, his mother would always avoid brand-name Coca-Cola and even Pepsi, despite her son and daughter vocally protesting, and she would always buy own-label or inferior brands like the loathed Rola-Cola, on the grounds these were a fifth of the price and she wasn't made of money.
Bootleg market can be so strong that even legal pursuit failed to take it down, case in point is TT Hong-Li made Gundam knockoffs. Bandai had issued a lawsuit against its parent company, but market demand is large enough to resurrect the company from the brink of death. The shoddy part comes from the fact that, while the models are 90% accurate, it has excessively bad quality control such as extremely brittle plastic and toxic dust.
Even though they are compatible with LEGO, many kids are often disappointed to receive Mega Bloks instead of proper LEGO from a parent, relative or friend unaware of the difference between the two and just going for the cheaper product. Unlike most examples, Mega Bloks doesn't really actively pretend to be LEGO — its branding and products are fairly well-differentiated from LEGO, it's fairly easy to tell the difference when you have one of the same sort of piece from each to observe, and it tends to produce relatively different sorts of sets with a greater emphasis on licensed cash-ins. According to the SCP Foundation, sentient self-assembling LEGO brick specimen aren't particularly pleased to see instances of Mega Bloks either...
...a small mound of Megablocks (a common copy of Lego) was placed near the community. When this happened, everything constructed of 387 stopped moving, turned slowly towards the Megablocks and [EXPUNGED].
Back during its run, BIONICLE tended to get hit very hard with knockoffs from all over the world, some of the most well-known discovered ones including "Invincibility Robots" and "Maskers". Interestingly, most BIONICLE knockoffs were visually near-indistinguishable from the real thing — many even used the exact same packaging and canisters, though with the BIONICLE and LEGO logos edited or removed. Amusingly, one discovered instance of a knockoff took the 2005 Rahaga sets and replaced their heads with what appeared to be Darth Vader helmets.
Oddly enough, the August 2007 issue of Popular Science featured an article on the various shameless ripoffs from China. Main part of the article was one of the copied cars getting the attention of the actual manufacturer — and offered to fix it up to them (the copied car was extremely dangerous''. It explains how some companies manage to get crap electronics out the doors, even when they're only on display (they literally have loads of engineers photograph the living shit out of electronics on display). Hell — there's even the "iClone" episode, where there was a surprisingly good touch phone (before everyone else started to Follow the Leader!)
There are a lot of Barbie or Bratz imitations that try (and succeed) to convince older people that they are Barbies or Bratz dolls.
Twist n' Change Robots. You can find them at many toy stores and drugstores. They're actually based on old Takatoku molds, which were also the basis for Select's Convertors Defenders toy line, and some official Transformers such as Whirl and Roadbuster.
Amazingly and bafflingly, there's a knockoff of this knockoff. The trains have generic smiley faces on them instead of the trademark Thomas face, but the molds are otherwise the same.
Kmart's Just Kidz Robo Morphers toy line includes a Rodimus knockoff that becomes a Ferrari Enzo lookalike, a Movie Ratchet knockoff, and a Cybertron Evac knockoff.
Big Lots has several, including G1 combiner bootlegs, "Robot Kings", and the "Battle Robots", one of which is an even flimsier clone of the aforementioned Rodimus Ferrari wannabe.
Befitting the franchise's Merchandise-Driven nature, there are fans who actually collect bootlegs and knockoffs, and that's without getting into the fan-made "reproductions" of Classics and G1 toys, along with downsized Masterpiece figures.
Some of the bootlegs are fairly impressive for bootlegging things that existed 20 years ago using modern molds. The Classics Sideswipe and Sunstreaker mold, for instance, is getting a lot of use producing, among other things, bootlegs of G2 Sideswipe, Japanese-exclusive Tigertrack, and Generation 2 Streetwise, who so far as is known never had a released toy.
One Chinese company has managed to do something fans have dreamed off for the longest time in the most bizarre, brightly colored way.◊ These are miniature Dinobots, all clearly using tiny versions of the original alternate modes' molds, but with entirely new robot forms. They combine into... this garishly colored thing◊. No known Transformers product remotely resembling this thing exists, either; likely knockoff victims like Monstructor or the Scramble City-type Transformers simply don't match up to the details.
The German toy giant Simba introduced their own My Little PonyShoddy Knockoff Product when the real deal had fallen into unimportance due to neglect by Hasbro. They copied the G3 molds, modified the printing and named the result "My Sweet Pony". Hasbro noticed and sued, and Simba had to apply a few more changes and re-release their small toy horses (not ponies) under the "Filly" brand. Unfortunately, Filly has become so popular among little girls in Germany who have never heard of My Little Pony that the fourth MLP generation would have ended up in obscurity, weren't it for the bronies.
The Filly brand is also popular among a particular group of former My Little Pony collectors due to the stylistic direction Hasbro is taking with MLP (read: the Filly ponies actually resemble ponies, My Little Pony ponies doesn't look anything like ponies since G3.5).
There are "Super Hero Alliance/Crew/League/Etc." toy lines which consist of Marvel, DC, Naruto, Shrek, and Cars characters teaming up to fight crime.
This version of the Shugo Chara! Humpty Lock might seem like the authentic version at first, but then it does not talk like the characters and plays "Jingle Bells".
Variant: Brazilian toy company Glasslite made Jaspion toys by putting his helmet on RoboCop dolls and painting the body like Jaspion's armor. Just look at both◊, and then at the toy◊ (even the distributor of the show admitted, adding that they preferred to licence it to Glasslite instead of importing the Japanese toys).
Beyblade has a couple of prominent bootleggers, the biggest of which is Hongyi. Their fakes are sold under the name Rapidity and advertised as "compatible" with Beyblade parts. However, quality control is nonexistant, and the metal wheels are lead-based pewter. They deform and break much more quickly than the real thing, and release toxic gas if heated. The plastic parts, though, are a fair bit closer in quality to the real thing, but still fall short.
Guitar Superstar is a plug-n-play knockoff of Guitar Hero.
Ditto for Guitar Fever.
There are ads on this very wiki promoting an online game entitled Space Trek.
Then there's "World of LordCraft" (from the same organization that's behind Evony), which has banner ads that urge you to "join the battlt now" (yes, spelled "battlt").
The multicart Caltron 6-in-1, in addition to the original game Magic Carpet 1001, features knockoffs of Space Harrier(Cosmos Cop), Balloon Fight(Adam & Eve), Sokoban(Porter), Make Trax(Bookyman), and Buster Brothers(Balloon Monster).
The POPstation (actually spelled that way) a Real Life knockoff of the Playstation Portable: acts as an extremely good example of this trope—as well as the former Trope Namer—and that's about the only good thing it does. Check out this video review. There are other products in the POPStation Watch series which are devices shaped like other consoles but have the same internals.
Other Playstation Portable knock-offs include the GameStation, the Funstation, the PlayCentral, the RumbleStation (includes games from everbody's favorite NES producer, Color Dreams) and many oldies compilations put in a Nintendo 64 controller (Powerplayer Super Joy; they got shot down by Nintendo pretty quick).
Within weeks of the release of the Wii console, the Vii. Said to be made by Ken Sing Ton (Bland-Name Product knockoff of Kensington). Now we have the Vii 2. With its Porwer button and its new strangely-shaped controller, but with the same low quality games, it oughta be a blast! In a similar vein we have Tilt Games, the Zone-40/Zone-60 and the Wiii!◊
The Power Player Super Joy: A Famicom clone shaped like an N64 controller and the second controller is a Sega Genesis controller.
There's also a Famiclone Vii.
Behold, Final Combat (Not to be confused with Sachen's Battle City knockoff of the same name), a Chinese knockoff of Team Fortress 2 that couldn't be more blatant if it tried. To be fair, the Striker does seem like a legitimately new class (albeit lifting Battlefield assets), but the Rocket, Firebat, Fatman, and Sniper are obvious ripoffs of TF2's Soldier, Pyro, Heavy, and... er, Sniper. Even the map most of the gameplay videos take place in is a blatant ripoff of Harvest (which is doubly insulting when you remember that Harvest was a fan-made map. Ouch.). Worse yet, closer observation will show that it's actually a ripoff of multiple games, as the maps besides the Harvest lookalike are taken from Battlefield Heroes and parts of Counter-Strike's de_dust. Just how many stolen assets are actually in this thing?! (Answer: Enough for Valve, usually a fairly laid-back group, to start vigorously pursuing legal action.)
In World of Tanks, there's a Chinese T-54 knockoff, labeled Type 59. It's 1 tier lower and generally worse than the original, except the armor slopes, which make it quite tough.
This Chinese rip off of Mario Kart Wii, found here. It's quite literally a texture hack of Mario Kart Wii being sold on the app store, complete with the exact same tracks (with minor texture edits to remove Mario references), the exact same items and likely everything else being the same as well.
Rock Revolution, a painfully obvious rip-off of Rock Band. It ended up in discount bins in an instant.
An in-media example occurs in Fallout 3 during the Point Lookout Punga trip; along the bog trail, there are fake Bobbleheads called "Schmault-tec Bubbleheads" whose descriptions mock the player's S.P.E.C.I.A.L. abilities.
Syrian Games don't even bother to change the names, but makes various "special editions" of the same game (often Grand Theft Auto) to entice people to buy the same game. Which is reportedly a broken mod lacking all story events and missions. The covers themselves are hilarious.
Somewhere in China is a company making a jubeat knockoff called "Magic Box", videos of which can be found all over YouTube. By all accounts, the hardware appears to be very close to actual jubeat in both appearance and functionality, except Magic Box replaces the top marquee with a duplicate screen a la DJ Max Technika and adds some lights to the sides. The software, however, is painfully obviously inferior.
Said knockoff also goes by the name of e-Magic and Magic Touch in some markets. Notably tho, they filled the niche in markets where Konami won't export the official Jubeat machines.
An Pump It Up knockoff has recently been spotted going under the name King of Dancer. It is most probably also made by the same company who brought us e-Magic and Magic Box.
Homestar Runner: Mocked in this email toon from Strong Bad, in which he has officially unlicensed Strong Bad merchandise, and objects to Bubs selling legit-looking "unlicensed unlicensed" merchandise.
Stuart Ashen specializes in reviewing cheap knock-off products; usually game consoles and toys. The most famous being the POP Stations: A series of cheap and unplayable LCD handheld games made to look like existing video game consoles. A number of the links on this page lead directly to his reviews of how shoddy these knockoffs really are.
He has also branched out to fake cellphones and the occasional fake toy.
Mike Mozart of Jeepers Media occasionally reviews knock-off toys and merchandise in his videos. In this video in particular, he reviews a bunch of iPod knockoffs and his friendly demeanor slowly dissolves to be replaced with disappointment and confusion that such things are allowed to exist.
Phelous started his own series of videos called Bootleg Zones with The Phayllus not to long ago where he reviews bootleg action figures.
Downplayed by the second episode, where it is clear that the show extends to reviewing bootleg products that are of decent quality almost matching (or in some aspects succeeding) the originals. Part of the rating system used for the reviews is how well they fare as a substitute for the originals.
One episode of The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat featured a Corrupt Corporate Executive who sold cheap knockoffs of Felix's magic bag. At first, the only noticeable difference was that the copies were black where the original is yellow and vice-versa. However, they used cheap materials to replace expensive ones because the boss said the customers would never know and to replace materials the spies failed to identify while analyzing the original bag because nobody would care. Despite knowing the knockoffs would be dangerous, they mass-produced the black bags.
In South Park, a game at a Crappy Carnival offers Terrance and Phillip dolls as prizes, which Kyle desperately tries to win. After making A Simple Plan to raise $5000 to spend on the game, he finally gets his hands on some, only for them to turn out to be crude fakes which fall apart easily.
During the 70s-80s and even to an extent today, the Fender Stratocaster was a victim of frequent awful duplicates and clones until Fender took matters into their own hands and began to produce Squier guitars, budget-priced Japanese-made Fender products.
Since Third World Countries are a major trading partner of China, the quality of the knock off products has become something of a business model. There are several levels of quality, ranging from abysmal to almost as good as the real thing. There was a direct connection between the quality of the items and the affluence of the importer. In theory, this allows everyone to get a taste of the product, albeit in varying qualities. Compare that with original Western products that are good quality but often times over the price range of the average buyer in third world locales such as Sub-Saharan Africa.
Most of the times, they copy the iPhone, Nokia smartphones or Android-based phones. (The last one brings some Fridge Logic: since Android is an open-source platform, why don't the manufacturers put the real thing instead of a fake? Sure, the name is trademarked and a fee has to be paid to use it, but the actual software can be used freely as long as it's called something else, though some pieces of software like the Android Market aren't free to use. Heck, they could just use Replicant, which is a fork of Android that takes out the parts that aren't free and open-source software.)
Well, given the fact that Android is free-to-use, several Chinese system-on-chip manufacturers such as the infamous Mediatek, Allwinner and Rockchip do offer SoCs capable of running Android, i.e. the MTK6573 and its higher-end cousins the 6575 and 6577, which are being used on countless multiple-SIM smartphones, many of which are clones of sought-after devices such as the Samsung Galaxy series. To sum things up, the clones now more closely imitate their legit counterparts, largely because they use the same Android system, but they're still a different banana hardware-wise.
In China, there have even been companies set up that do nothing but copy major brand phones. One such is a company known as Nokla (this is a common sort of glyph substitution when people with at best a really weak grasp of the characters used in a language try to duplicate a word) became extremely proficient at copying the externals of Nokia phones, although the internals and interface was no more similar than any other phone.
Mike Mozart of Jeepers Media once reviewed a bunch of knockoff iPods. The reality of these things annoyed him a great deal. He strongly recommends the official iPods in this case.
The city of Kunming, China contains an almost perfect copy of an Apple Store. A few tiny tip-offs include displaying the name of the store (real stores just show the Apple logo) and the employees' name tags just simply saying "Staff" rather than their name. Amazingly enough, even the employees were fooled.
There's also 11 Furniture Store, a fake Ikea that copies almost everything about it, but the cafeteria serves traditional Chinese food instead of Swedish food. This is also located in Kunming.
With the return of the ceiling fan to popularity in the late 1970's-early 1980's, most quality models (such as this Hunter Original) were made in the USA, had long-lasting motors and parts, were relatively quiet, and could cost well over $250-300 new (roughly $1,000 on today's market). Enter the $29.95 offering from "Family Handyman" magazine, complete with the advertisement literally "daring you to tell us the difference"... well, listen for yourself... and enjoy the yellow plastic while you're at it.
A Chinese company named Lifan used to make and sell "Hongda" motorcycles which were shoddy copies of Honda's models, until Honda sued and put a stop to it.
Many Japanese guitar companies started like this, Tokai still doing this as well, as Edwards (by ESP), but now only in Japan. For a long time no manufacturer was interested as their models was a letdown in quality (eg. bolt on neck instead of set neck, laminated wood instead of solid mahogany, hardware was made from pot metal), but at some time, they managed to make better guitars than eg. Gibson (inverted this trope), but still exact replicas. This resulted in lawsuits instantly and then, orgininal models or No Export for You. The most famous was Ibanez, which itself ripped of a destroyed Spanish manufacturer's name.
This often happens when the toyline of a television series takes off, see also Transformers Generation One and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. There's a thriving market for making toy derivatives of both series; Transformers fans are all too familiar with knockoffs while the newer My Little Pony series has only recently been hit by it. Neither actually carries the actual Transformers or My Little Pony logos, but try to resemble them in some fashion (for instance, they'll use names like Transform Man or My Funny). Surprisingly often, the companies responsible for the knockoffs actually copy the molds used by the original manufacturer, but not their solid plastics or detail quality. These copycat products can be found in operations ranging from tiny convenience shop importers to ones as large as Big Lots.
"Why would anyone buy one of these? Oh wait, 'cause they're cheap!"
In Belarus around 2010, one of the most popular television shows was The Theorists, where every single episode was a loosely translated episode of The Big Bang Theory, complete with expys of every — single — main character from the show. Chuck Lorre called out the series in a vanity card at the end of a Big Bang episode. Fortunately, before Warner Bros. had to sue, The Theorists ended when its stars walked off the job.
According to interviews with actors from The Theorists, they had no idea The Big Bang Theory existed or that their show was a direct clone of the hit American show.
In February 2014, a Burger King in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania came under scrutiny for selling food that was obviously not Burger King's — fries in Dixie cups, generic burgers in tinfoil, soft drinks in generic polystyrene cups, and generic brown paper bags. And they had apparently been doing this since November 2013. It turns out that it they had lost the rights to the Burger King franchise and were ostensibly "in transition" to becoming an independent restaurant, but not before ripping off literally hundreds of customers who thought they would be getting Whoppers and Tendercrisps. Four days later, the Burger King signs were taken down and the place was said to be closed. However, only a few days later, it was announced that a new franchise had bought the building and was planning to turn it back into a real Burger King.
The Soviet Union coined the term "Monkey Model" to describe a piece of military equipment that was significantly inferior to the original that it was based off of but was much cheaper to build. The purpose of these simplified Monkey Models were to replace front-line stocks if a war went on for several weeks and for export to countries that wanted to buy Russian Military Equipment but were either too poor or of questionable intentions to be allowed use of the real stuff.
China has a reputation for doing exactly this with their military hardware, sometimes obtained legitimately -the Soviet Union donated a lot of plans and tooling in the 1950s and 60s- but frequently through reverse-engineering or industrial espionage.
Their Type 99 main battle tank is a derivative of the Russian T-72, which was incidentally the tank the People's Liberation Army thought they were most likely to be facing in the event of general war. (Communism was not one big happy family at the time, to say the least.)
Their latest attack helicopter, the Z-10 initially had parts from the Manguska and Euro-copter Tiger helicopters, and still bears a slight resemblance to the latter.
Their new Aircraft Carrier was bought and paid for from the Russians, and now they intend to build a class of such carriers.
The aircraft they intend to fill that carriers flight deck with? A carbon copy of the Su-33.
The old Soviet Union wasn't above this sort of thing either; their early jet fighters were powered by close copies of Rolls Royce engines.note So were early US jet fighters, for that matter, but they licensed the patents. Rumours also abound that the Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic airliner's remarkable resemblance to Concorde is due to more than merely the similarities of form that stem from similarities of function. And then there is the interesting case of the Tu-4, which was reverse-engineered from a handful of American Boeing B-29 bombers that made emergency landings during World War II (Russia was allied with the US against Germany, but was neutral in the war between US and Japan until the last months of the war).
North Korea takes the cake in this area, since the Korean People's Army's equipment is generally a shoddy knock-off of shoddy knock-offs from China. The nec plus ultra of their copying has to be their Harbin H-5s. The Harbin H-5 is a Chinese knock-off of the Soviet Ilyushin Il-28, which had its first flight in 1950. The originals were powered by the RD-45, an unlicensed knock-off of the Rolls-Royce Nene, a British engine from 1944 (and which was quickly passed over in favor of the better Rolls-Royce Avon). This means North Korea flies airframes that are Chinese knock-offs of a six decade old Soviet design, powered by North Korean knock-offs of Chinese knock-offs of Russian knock-offs of a British design that is over 70 years old. Glory to Kim Il-sung and Juche-Songun thought, eh?