The organizing committee of the Beijing Olympic Games has issued a harsh warning to the growing number of online shops profiteering from illegal sales of Olympic merchandise, local media reported on Monday.
Citing an Olympic e-commerce official from the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), Beijing Daily reported Monday that they discovered about 80 websites illegally selling Olympic merchandise, causing a sales decline for www.2008eshop.cn, the only official e-commerce website, over the past two months.
While reiterating that www.2008eshop.cn is the only website authorized by BOCOG, Olympic E-commerce Operation Center spokesman Xie Funing slammed other online shops for either selling fake goods or lacking licenses.
The official website's sales have dropped to about 1 million yuan ($135,000) a month during the last two months, from 1.5 million yuan for the first month since it was launched on July 30 this year, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.
Some online shops copied the sales page of the official website but changed the contact information to theirs, the newspaper said.
"Many of the shop owners cannot provide bills to prove they have legitimate supply sources," Xie was quoted as saying.
"Taking advantage of the consumers' urgency to buy the goods, some shops arbitrarily raise prices and some even sell fakes."
Li Yanjun, a BOCOG official in charge of legal affairs, said that these websites would be punished according to the gravity of their profiteering.
"Those who have made huge illegal gains will be handed to local public security departments to determine their criminal responsibility," Li said.
BOCOG had set a sales goal of $70 million in franchised merchandising of about 4,000 Olympic products.
The committee has warned of an increasing number of people exploiting Olympic fever as the Games approach.