China, paradise online of the counterfeit

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BEIJING | Perfume “Gogo Chenale” shoes “Ababis” or boxers “Caiwen Kani” copied on Calvin Klein: despite the efforts of the chinese giant of e-commerce Alibaba, organizer Sunday, the largest operation of the balances in the world, counterfeits abound always on its platforms.

Faced with american economic sanctions, China provides stronger protection of intellectual property business – a crucial matter in the trade war between Washington and Beijing.


President Xi Jinping reiterated on Monday his desire to “punish resolutely” sellers of counterfeit goods. And a new law will soon force the giants of the online sale, including Alibaba, to pay their websites of the products at issue.

As each November 11, the group organizes a day of promotions monsters. The image of “Black Friday,” u.s., this event, dubbed the “bachelor’s Party” — because of the succession of “1” in the date (11/11) – is the opportunity to boost sales.

In the past year, Alibaba had recorded in the 24 hours of some $ 25 billion of transactions… which is more than the GDP of Iceland.

The group announced Sunday $ 10 billion generated during the first hour of the operation. At 11 a.m. (3 a.m. GMT), the sales turnover was already $ 20.5 billion.

Present on almost all smartphones in China, its application Taobao is one of the largest global platforms for online commerce (634 million monthly active users). But if the vast majority of products sold are authentic, many are fakes or imitations.


There is, for example sports shoes “Ababis”, which repeat the logo and stripes features Adidas. Unbeatable price: 39 yuan (CAN $ 7.50). Shoes “Balenciaca” flow for 128 yuan (24 $ CDN).

Bags “Long Chang”

The site is full of fake bags, Louis Vuitton handbags, sold from 118 yuan (22,50 $). Its competitor, Longchamp is not spared: copies of his bag beacon Nylon can be purchased for a similar price under the brand name of “Long Chang”.

Fake Lacoste polo shirts can be found from 68 yuan ($13 a CAN), with in logo a crocodile feature fully embroidered.

In the streets of Beijing, of consumers admit to AFP to have a hard time distinguishing the true from the false. “I don’t really see the difference,” says a man of 26 years before a slip ‘Caiwen Kani”. “It seems genuine. This is an original”.

“I could buy,” admits Wang Yu, 37 years old, in front of a game box construction “Lepin” (copied on Lego) and flocked to the name of the saga galactic Star Wnrs” (sic), sold 15 yuan (2,85 CAD). “I think that all of the products copy each other”, philosopher-t-it. “It doesn’t bother me as long as it is suitable for children. But provided that it is of good quality”.


The radius of alcohols, one finds the whisky, “Jack David”. Or still wines such as Bordeaux, but the names wacky redolent more of the ersatz as the vineyards of the Medoc: “The Heart of Freedom”, “Bravespirit”, “Dragon Were General”, a red that boasts its “impression of sincerity” in French in the text… All of them are sold less than 19 yuan the bottle.


The United States has once again placed the end of 2016, Taobao on their black list of “markets notoriously famous” for selling counterfeit goods and violating intellectual property.

According to the Office of the european Union for the intellectual property (EUIPO), the infringement would lead to a loss of 434 000 jobs in Europe, as well as 60 billion euros each year.

In a press release sent to AFP, Alibaba ensures that its methods of protection of intellectual property are “among the best in the industry” and said to be “constantly looking for ways to improve them”.

“Hypocrisy pure”

The group claims to have initiated 48 prosecutions during the past year against the sellers of counterfeit goods.

“One company in two is a victim. They incur huge to fight against this plague, which can reach up to 10% of their turnover,” says AFP Delphine Sarfati-Sobreira, general director in Paris of the association Unifab, which brings together industries involved in the fight against counterfeiting.

“SMES are often challenged because they do not have the adequate budget to organise themselves and defend themselves. They are faced with challenges that sometimes push them to give up, or worse, to put the key under the door.”

But impunity would soon cease. A new chinese law on online commerce will come into force on January 1, 2019. It will make the giants of the web responsible for the presence of counterfeiting on their platforms.

“Put the responsibility on the sites is hypocrisy pure”, however, considers Hubert Ricard, exports consultant of the company “La Guyennoise” — including “5 million bottles” of Bordeaux are copied each year in China.

According to him, the authorities in certain provinces of the center and to the east of the country are “very often part of networks of manufacturing and distribution of copies of wines.”