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Lower prices prompt customers to buy knockoff products

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-29 09:24

With prices lower than the market norm, counterfeit products sold online often attract large numbers of consumers. That is contributing to a prosperous market for fakes and demonstrates that there is still a long way to go in the fight against counterfeit goods.

Some online consumers are happy to seek cheaper fakes rather than pay higher prices for genuine articles, especially for luxury brands that convey a sense of wealth and status.

In April, an online vendor, surnamed Cao, was arrested at his premises in Anhui province and charged with selling thousands of pieces of fake jewelry after he was discovered to be selling counterfeit Swarovski Swan necklaces, which have an official retail price of 990 yuan ($150), for 37 yuan on Taobao.

In 2014, the food and drug authorities in Jiangsu province prosecuted an online vendor for selling fake cosmetics. One of the vendor's goods, a "Chanel" lipstick, retailed for 19 yuan online but the market price was 310 yuan. A subsequent investigation showed that the vendor had sold fake goods in about 20 regions across the country.

"High demand for foreign products creates opportunities for a large number of overseas purchasing agents online. However, many of these 'agents' sell goods that they pretend to have imported but were actually produced at home. Consumers just turn a blind eye to these counterfeits because of their similarity to the genuine items and the lower price," said Yu Ming, an internet entrepreneur in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

Wang Qi, a recent graduate in Beijing, said she is always careful when she buys goods on the internet.

"I am not sure if I have bought fake goods online. I take great care not to buy fake foodstuffs online because of safety concerns. Also, I won't purchase luxury goods because the high prices only embody their brand value, not their utility value. When it comes to fashionable clothes, which are usually very expensive in bricks-and-mortar shops, I buy copies online that are of acceptable quality and at a reasonable price," she said.

Deng Kexin, who sells wigs on the internet, said many online shops that sell counterfeits use extremely low prices to lure buyers.

"They don't care if consumers fail to make repeat purchases. Moreover, most consumers do not reject goods after discovering they are fakes. It's a one-shot deal. Business is a matter of conscience. Good quality is fundamental and helps build long-term relationships. I won't sell bargain goods. A good reputation is very important for shops," she said.

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