Global Markets

More than 40% of China’s ecommerce products are fakes, says government report

China’s ecommerce industry has spent the past decade growing at breakneck speed, and there’s really no end in sight. Chinese ecommerce spending is expected to break US$1 trillion for the first time in 2017. But it isn’t all rosy, according to a new report released by the law enforcement and inspection team of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. Fake products are still a serious problem.

According to the Beijing Business Times, the report was compiled from the group’s inspections of 14 different ecommerce product categories in 2014. It found that only 58.7 percent of the inspected goods were genuine, meaning the other 41.3 percent were fake. Fake here is a broad term, and it could include dangerous fake products like cosmetics with unlisted ingredients as well as brand-name clothing knock-offs and the like.

The report also says ecommerce-related consumer complaints are up. The China Consumers Association handled more than 20,000 shopping-related consumer complaints last year, and 92.3 percent of those were about online purchases. Ecommerce-related complaints handled by one Beijing court were 3.7 times higher than the previous year, the report said.

It may be worth taking this information with a grain of salt, as it’s not clear just how large the NPC group’s sample size actually was – I wasn’t able to find a copy of the full report online. Earlier this year, a Ministry of Commerce team inspected ecommerce products and came to a similar conclusion – around 40 percent of China’s ecommerce products are fakes – but that group looked at less than 100 products in total.

Still, 40 percent fakes doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility if unlicensed products are included. A quick search on Taobao for “Kansas City Royals,” for example, turns up an awful lot of swag for the recent World Series winners that is pretty clearly unlicensed.

What do you think about the fake products on China’s ecommerce sites: serious problem or blown out of proportion?

 C. Custer – TechinAsia

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