When people in China carry designer bags bearing the logos of Louis Vuitton or Gucci, they are often asked whether they authentic or counterfeit. Now the country’s makers of counterfeit luxury goods go a step further by offering “tailor-made” services and have even opened “high-end private clubs” on social media sites, our sister paper Want Daily reports.
Little Min, manager of a luxury bag shop in Haikou’s Top United, sells various levels of counterfeit luxury bags and even offers tailor-made counterfeit bags priced at more than 8,000 yuan (US$1,300), or even 10,000 yuan (US$1,650) each, according to a Beijing media report.
Min said her shop can offer a tailor-made Hermes Crocodile Birkin Bag, a genuine edition of which is sold for more than 100,000 yuan (US$16,500), but the counterfeit she sells is such a fine imitation, complete with identification certificate, that not even experts can tell the difference, she says. The counterfeit bag sells for less than half the price of the genuine article.
35-year-old Xiao Li (pseudonym), in addition to being a civil servant has a part-time job selling luxury goods via WeChat, where she sends photos of the latest designer bags and watches to her circles of friends. Xiao said it costs from several hundred yuan to more than one thousand yuan to make one of her bags in the factory, to which she adds a 20% mark-up.
In total, Xiao has opened four friend groups each with about 150 people. Her client base enables her to make as much as 10,000 yuan (US$1,650) a month, she said.
Tencent’s QQ platform is another battlefield for counterfeit luxury goods. Previously, most such sales were conducted on Alibaba’s Taobao website but as Taobao has implemented stricter regulation, many sellers of counterfeits have moved elsewhere, Xiao said.
On QQ, only her good friends or new friends introduced by regular clients can see the information of the counterfeits she posts, Xiao said.
People in China have become the world’s top consumers of luxury goods, according to a report on the 2012 Chinese luxury goods market published at the end of 2012 by Bain & Company. Chinese nationals accounted for one quarter of global luxury goods sale in 2012, but high domestic taxes meant that 60% of these purchases were made overseas.