Trending in China: Social Media Comes Out in Support of High Quality Fakes

Trending in China: Social Media Comes Out in Support of High Quality Fakes

What’s trending?


#Shanghai goods inspection uncovers Putian-made fake sneakers worth 120 million yuan

What’s the story?

Shanghai authorities are shining a light on the massive counterfeit shoe-producing hub in the coastal city of Putian in Fujian province after a raid in China’s commercial capital uncovered fake shoes worth up to 120 million yuan ($18.25 million).

A video dated Nov. 6 which was posted on the Weibo channel of local media group ‘021 Video’ purports to show the warehouse raid in which the shoes were found, showing stacks of goods and delivery boxes. The video is captioned with the discounted price tag of the knockoffs – amounting to 20% to 50% of the brand originals — with a production cost of between 50 yuan and 80 yuan a pair.

Since 2014, the Putian government has instigated repeated crackdowns on the counterfeit shoe business, which took root in Fujian at the beginning of the reform period when sport shoe companies sought cheaper production sites to Taiwan. While Jinjiang to the south hosts many Chinese shoe brands including Anta, Erke and 361, Putian continued to produce for big international brands as an OEM specialist, while new model samples regularly leaked into the black market.

In January, the flourishing overseas trade in fakes took a hit when it was raised as a point of contention in the U.S.-China trade negotiations. The current global economic slowdown caused by Covid-19 has seen the often small workshops pivot their business towards the domestic market, selling on e-commerce platforms under the guise of “internal purchase,” “end of line,” or “out of stock” goods.

What are people saying online?

Most comments under the raid video are positive towards Putian-made fakes, saying many are better than the real shoes, which is “remarkable.”

A survey on Weibo quizzes readers on if they have bought high quality counterfeits, to which the majority response is yes, as of Nov. 26. One purchaser glibly remarked, “I used real money to buy them, what’s so fake?”

Another questioned why branded sports shoes sell for thousands of yuan when they are so cheap to produce. “Are they worth it? Shouldn’t they just be sold for a few hundred? Why isn’t that aspect of the business brought into line?” the person asked.

Comparing shoes to other consumer goods, one Weibo user asked, “I don’t understand why shoes come under so much pressure when food isn’t quality checked (as well). Have shoes ever injured anyone?”

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