China seizes millions of World Cup fakes

By admin
13 June 2014

China, notorious for it's rampant copying of everything and it's poorly made fakes, has had more than seven million fake World Cup products seized this year.

  Chinese customs officers have seized more than seven million fake World Cup products, including copies of official Brazuca footballs, Fuleco mascots and national team shirts valued at millions of dollars, according to government reports. Inspectors in the southern port and manufacturing hub of Shenzhen have recovered 520,000 fake World Cup items valued at some 1.7 million yuan (nearly R3 million) since early April, the China Customs Administration reported.

China has its own large market for World Cup fakes.

The fakes were seized in 132 separate customs operations and included 480,000 packets of sweets bearing the official World Cup emblem, the administration said on its website.

Nationwide, customs officers in coastal cities confiscated 6.59 million unauthorized World Cup products in the first three months of this year. They began a four-month "Green Action" campaign against fake World Cup products in April.

The crackdown shows that China is "determined to protect intellectual property" and strongly supports Brazil's hosting of the World Cup finals, the official China Daily newspaper quoted Zhou Xinyu, a researcher at Beijing Foreign Studies University, as saying.

Customs officers in Shenzhen also seized 17,000 satellite receivers branded with the Fifa World Cup emblem in April, preventing their export to Malaysia.

Several smaller shipments were intercepted in Shenzhen as people tried to post them overseas, customs reports said.

In early June, customs officers in the central province of Hubei seized 181 shipments of World Cup fakes valued at a total of nearly R12 million.

In the south-eastern port of Xiamen, authorities found nearly 22,000 counterfeit football shirts bearing the FIFA World Cup and "fair play" logos, estimating the value of the haul at 117,000 dollars (R1.2 million)

In Yiwu, an export hub near Shanghai in eastern China, customs officers seized 760 replica World Cup trophies, 5,000 fake footballs and 13,000 fake shirts.

China has been notorious since the early 1990s for its rampant copying of everything from DVDs of the latest Hollywood films to food items, car parts, entire motorcycles, watches, jewellery, shoes and clothes.

The fakes are often made in small factories in poor areas, where organized criminals can exploit the huge pools of cheap labour.

Despite several high-profile crackdowns, many European and other foreign firms still complain about lack of enforcement of legislation in China. "China remains the main source of products entering the EU suspected of infringing an intellectual property right," the European Commission said last month.

EU customs authorities confiscated counterfeit products from China worth some 845,000 dollars in 2012, accounting for nearly 65 per cent of the 40 million fake items seized.

"The main product categories coming from China included clothing and accessories, shoes labels, tags and stickers, unrecorded CDs and DVDs, toys and body care items, machines and tools, and office stationery," it said.

China has its own large market for World Cup fakes, despite the national team failing to qualify for the World Cup finals in Brazil.

The government wants to help Chinese factories that make the official Brazuca footballs, mascots and other products.

"China's action in protecting intellectual property is also to protect the development of our own companies, especially the ones in cultural and technology industries," Zhou said.

The world's most populous nation, with some 1.34 billion people, is a prime target for global television stations, FIFA and national football bodies in Europe to attract new fans.

But China's television viewing figures are not expected to a break any records during this World Cup, since most of the matches in Brazil start after midnight Beijing time.

The late kick-offs have reportedly fuelled online business in yet another new fake product: doctors' sick notes recommending a day off work for fans who have stayed up all night to watch World Cup matches.

"In order to help sports fans not miss any of the excitement, vendors on Taobao, China's largest e-commerce website, are selling fake medical documentation from 10 yuan (R17) to 300 yuan," the Global Times newspaper reported last week.

- Bill Smith, SAPA

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