Last September when I was in China, I needed a harddrive to store all the photos I was taking, plus I wanted to see what the electronics markets in Zhongguancun looked like. Zhongguancun can be pretty overwhelming, but it is an amazing place. This post isn’t about ZOL specifically, its about what I got there…

In one of the electronic markets, I found a small booth selling harddrives, and we asked what the price for a 250gb model would be. Whatever the price was, it wasn’t unreasonable. The harddrive came in a nice shrink wrapped box labeled “SAMSUNG” in the traditional Samsung white-and-blue color scheme. I wish I had thought to take a picture of it. I have no doubt the box was authentic.

Inside the box was a black harddrive case with gold trim, labeled “Samsung”. I suspected something was up right away because gold trim doesn’t seem to fit Samsung’s “style”, and the case was held together with 8 tiny screws. Most retail external harddrives are held together with screwless, snap-together designs and look much trendier than this basic case.

Worse, when I plugged the harddrive into the computer, it registered as a Hitachi model. Why would Samsung source harddrives from Hitachi when I know they make their own units? Since the harddrive worked, and I hadn’t paid too-too much for it, I didn’t really mind.

Later, I decided I would swap the Hitachi harddrive from this case into a better one I happen to have. Not only is the drive a Hitachi model, its refurbished!

[caption id=”attachment_291” align=”aligncenter” width=”300” caption=”Shanzai!”]A refurbished hitachi harddrive sits between the top and bottom of a fake Samsung external harddrive case [/caption]

Lesson learned: Never buy a harddrive in China.