China's Cosmetics Fakers Splash Out Millions to Create Convincing Lookalikes
Xu Zuwei
/SOURCE : Yicai
China's Cosmetics Fakers Splash Out Millions to Create Convincing Lookalikes

(Yicai Global) Aug. 7 -- China's luxury cosmetics counterfeiters spend hundreds of thousands of US dollars producing realistic-looking products that are sold through social messaging apps such as WeChat by so-called black daigou, or rogue overseas personal shoppers, to unsuspecting consumers back home.

Police in the city of Suzhou, eastern Jiangsu province, recently uncovered a case involving more than 80,000 fake items purporting to be by Dior, MAC and Fresh worth CNY10 million (USD1.5 million), state-backed Xinhua News Agency reported today.

"These products are well counterfeited and the average consumer can't see whether their products are genuine," the police said.

Few people who use daigou would imagine their purchases coming from underground workshops in China. The fraudsters pay meticulous attention to making items look identical with real products, including giving them genuine product codes obtained from brand insiders. The deception can have harmful consequences for buyers.

Xu Fang, a 36-year-old Nanjing resident, bought what she believed to be an Estee Lauder eye cream over an online platform. After using the product for a week, her skin showed visible signs of irritation. The packaging and product code looked correctly branded, and the seller had even provided a customs clearance certificate.

This is not the first case of faked cosmetics in China, of course. Last year, customs officials in the port city of Ningbo seized more than 90,000 items bound for overseas. The hardest part in seizing unauthorized goods is that they are made with scrupulous attention to detail. The counterfeiters spend huge sums on buying genuine products for 'research and development,' produce convincing lookalikes, ship them abroad and mail items to Chinese shoppers through black daigou.

China is drafting a new law to govern e-commerce platforms. Including WeChat under it could help to limit counterfeiting as many of the illegal products are sold via WeChat posts, said Zhao Zhanling, a researcher at the China University of Political Science and Law.

Editor: Emmi Laine

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Keywords: Cosmetics , Forge , Counterfeit , Knockoff , Wechat , E-COMMERCE , Make-Up , Daigou