Op-Ed Contributors

Counterfeit market blues

By Han Qi (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-03 07:56
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High demand for imitation products drive up supply; EU has no reason to blame China for fake fever

A report in the South China Morning Post last month quoted a United Nations official as having said that Chinese producers, some with the influence of organized criminal gangs, control Europe's $8.2-billion counterfeit goods market. Citing a UN report, the newspaper said Chinese mainland sources account for about 55 percent, or $4.51 billion, of Europe's fake products market.

Such reports about Chinese products are not unusual. As an emerging market, China has been under tremendous pressure from the United States and the European Union (EU) to crack down on people making counterfeit and inferior quality products.

According to an article on www.stnn.cc on July 31, 2007, the value of China's fake products crossed $16 billion in 2006, causing a loss of $2.6 billion to US enterprises. The article also said that 80 percent of the fake and imitation products confiscated by EU countries in 2006 were from China.

But China is by no means the only country where counterfeit products are made. People in many other countries too make fake products - from forged currency notes, and counterfeit clothes and handbags to imitation perfume and luxury sedans.

In March 2008, Italian police busted a network making fake Ferraris in Sicily and seized 21 "luxury cars".

According to a Kelkoo online survey in France, nearly a quarter of the World Cup products, especially T-shirts and shorts, sold in the country are fakes.

The production and sale of fake and substandard products are indeed a big problem. But it is not exclusive to China, because it afflicts the world too - mainly developing countries.

Many producers see making fakes as an effective way of making money in today's fiercely competitive markets, which are ruled by their gigantic and powerful rivals. Because of lack of funds, technology and other means of productions, some small- and middle-sized producers regard counterfeiting some famous brands as an important (and perhaps easy) way of making money and building their economic muscle.

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