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Counterfeit Goods

Underground World of Counterfeit Goods

Counterfeit or fake luxury goods have been in existence for centuries as early as 2000 years ago.  The most common class of counterfeit goods is apparel (clothing, accessories and shoes).  Other popular counterfeit products include watches and jewelry, consumer electronics and pharmaceuticals.  

The size of the counterfeit goods market is difficult to measure because we can only measure what is being caught by the authorities.  It is almost impossible to measure the amount of counterfeit goods which are sold successfully.

Nevertheless, the best guess of the counterfeit market is approaching a trillion US dollars involving up to 150 countries.  Manufacturing and selling counterfeit goods is a form of consumer fraud because a product is sold as something that it is not.

Four Kinds of Counterfeit goods

Counterfeit or fake luxury goods have been a threat to the luxury brands around the world for many centuries.  There are essentially four kinds of "fake" goods:

  1. Counterfeit Product

    A 100% copy of the original luxury product.  It is made to deceive or trick the consumer into buying it, thinking that it is the real thing.
  2. Pirated Product

    A copy of the luxury brand.  However, it is not made to deceive the consumer.  Consumers buy it knowing that it is a fake product.
  3. Imitation Product

    Made to look similar but not identical to the luxury brand.  Consumers buying an imitation product often know that it is not the real product at the moment of purchase.
  4. Custom Made Products

    Replicas of a trademark design of branded products by legitimate craftsmen.  They may have an association with the brand.

Selling of Counterfeit Goods

Luxury brands around the world are faced with all four types of "fake" goods.  Imitation and Custom Made fake products poses less of an issue with the world luxury brands.

Counterfeit goods are sold around the world as the real thing by so called authorized agents.  They can be sold in a housewife's kitchen or the back alleys of some of the world's hot spots for counterfeit goods.  Hot spots include Canal Street in Manhattan of New York City, Spadina Street in Toronto, Oxford Street in London, and Temple Street in Hong Kong.

Impact of Counterfeit Goods

Here are some key impacts of counterfeit goods:

Importers - Beware of Counterfeit Goods

China has been criticized as being the major source for the world's counterfeit goods.  In an effort to address the issue, China joined the World Trade Organization and began to set national policies on anti-counterfeiting.

As a legitimate importer who wants to conduct business with China, you need to be aware that the counterfeit goods industry is still thriving.  Do not get tricked into importing something that it is not.  Fraud exists everywhere.