Business / Industries

Police raid makers of fake mattresses

By Chen Hong (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-03 09:50

Police in Huizhou, Guangdong province, seized more than 1,000 counterfeit mattresses and semi-finished products, valued at about 10 million yuan ($1.6 million), from an illegal workshop.

The US mattress brand Serta was the biggest victim in the case, according to police, who announced their findings on May 28.

In mid-May the police's economic investigation detachment received complaints from consumers who suffered backache and neck discomfort and suspected that the products were fake, said Qiu Jinhui, the detachment chief, at the press briefing.

"The criminal suspects could gain big profits by pirating the branded mattresses, which are usually sold for 10,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan each in the market," Qiu said.

Huizhou police set up a special team and traced the illegal workshop to the village of Changbu, in Xinyu town.

On May 22, the police raided the workshop and caught seven suspects, including the man in charge, a 28-year-old surnamed Gan. The case is still under investigation.

"We will keep on cracking down on piracy in the city to protect the legal rights of the intellectual property owners," Qiu said.

Wu E, general manager of Serta Home Furniture (Shenzhen), said at the briefing that the company would invest more than 1 million yuan annually to strengthen its efforts to protect its intellectual property rights.

"The illegal counterfeiting activities caused economic losses to the company, damaged the brand image, and even worse it hurt the health of the users," Wu said.

Just three months ago, police in Foshan, Guangdong province, caught another illegal workshop producing fake Serta products, which were valued at about 2.3 million yuan, said Wu.

He said the illegal manufacturers used low-quality materials to make the mattresses, including the important spring and sponge elements. In some cases, the mattresses also contained materials that could lead to skin diseases or breathing problems, he added.

Wu said the company has developed a barcode identification system that allows buyers to call the company to check the products' authenticity.

As a leading bedding brand in the United States, Serta entered the Chinese market 17 years ago and it has 152 authorized retailers that sell products in 600 shops in 202 cities on the Chinese mainland.

Most of the pirated products were bought from online shops, but Wu reiterated that Serta has not yet authorized any online traders.

Given that online shopping is getting more and more popular, Wu said Serta is building an official online shop but it is yet to open.

Wu said the company also planned to set up a fund to reward those who report pirated and fake products.

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