For love - and luxury

By Dong Fangyu and Yang Feiyue in Beijing ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-12-20 08:10:19

Chinese customers tend to buy leather products from Italy, fashionable clothing from France, and watches from Switzerland, says Ouyang Kun, chairman of the Chinese branch of the World Luxury Association, a non-profit organization aimed at standardizing international luxury brand management.

"For example, a bag might be priced 45 percent lower in the US and 70 percent lower in France than in China," says Ouyang. The price gap will continue to widen during major holidays overseas, particularly Christmas, when major foreign brands will offer discounts.

While armchair shopping enables Chinese buyers to enjoy a wider range of choices, Ouyang says they should be cautious about purchasing through unofficial sites or through surrogate buyers.

"Knockoffs are flooding the online market, and it's difficult for customers to tell the genuine goods from fakes," says Ouyang. "Even if they can, there's little chance that they will get their money back."

To help consumers identify fake goods, luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton and Hermes, are working to form a brand inspection center to offer technical support to the Chinese industry and commerce administration to help law enforcement and the solving of disputes.

Despite the decline in the Chinese luxury market this year, Chinese consumers remain a major force supporting overseas luxury goods producers.

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