Have you picked up your latest edition bag of Plada from the new season? Or what about the cute clutch bag from Loius Vuitton? In case you’re wondering, no these are not typos!
Chinese imitation products becoming more elaborate
Source: Instagram @inkstonenews
In the landlocked city of Renhuai, China, high-end shops are popping up within the busy commercial district. Everything seems on board, from the store layout to the products on display. The only thing that gives away the legitimacy are the names. Yet you’d be surprised at the number of shoppers who believe they are getting the real deal if they step into the stores.
Given the attention to detail that the store owners go to in order to make their shops replicate the luxury brands, you could understand why people might fall for it.
After a Chinese news site Inkstone informed Louis Vuitton and Prada, both of these Chinese imitation products stores closed down swiftly. But it’s not a case of counting your losses, as the story doesn’t end for businesses that thrive selling knockoff brands.
Difficult to track and keep off the market
Source: Twitter @dilreyhan
A source at Louis Vuitton told Inkstone that these types of shops often appear in third and fourth-tier cities, where the authentic brands rarely venture.
This explains why “Uyghur’s Secret” was successful, another store which “borrowed” Victoria’s Secret brand in Xinjiang , based in the North West of China.
Even if the physical stores close, the businesses can continue selling their products online.
As stats show from the 2018 Global Brand Counterfeiting Report, intellectual property theft cost companies $323 billion in 2017. And Europol believe 86% of counterfeit products originating from China.
Alex Newman, an intellectual property expert at British law firm Irwin Mitchell, says that there are associations between Chinese imitation products and organised crime, including child labour.
And shutting down illegal black market activity is becoming increasingly harder, with business shifting to the internet.
Fighting to keep fake products off the market
Source: Twitter twitter @stanyee
When business moves online, it can be harder to distinguish between the authentic goods. Chinese imitation products are listed and disguised in better ways to bypass filters, like the Taobao online shopping platform. Descriptions can be altered to sound like they are authentic. Even prices are set high to give the same impression.
Brands and communities work together to minimise the resurgence of counterfeit goods. In February, Alibaba reported that 129 people were arrested out of 1,910 cases passed to authorities.
Would you still buy Chinese imitation products if you knew they were fake?
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