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Faked in China

More than thirty students from over 20 nationalities sat in a classroom in the University of Westminster, talking about their preconceived impression of one another’s countries. Here’s a list of what they said about China: faked products, cheap labour, speech control, one-child policy, pollution, among other things.

Wait a minute. “Made in China” became “Faked in China”? How did this happen?

Well, the history went back in the early 1990s. At that time, China was emerging as a world factory, attracting many overseas companies with favourable tax policies, less expensive raw materials, and most importantly, extremely cheap labours.

Engines roaring, numerous “Made in China” items travelled across the globe. Usually, factories produce more than order quantity. They started to sell them at cheaper price without brand tags.

Later they found that people were willing to pay more if they put a brand tag on the items they sold. They started to fake brand tags. Still, the product quality was good.

This was not a serious problem when these faked brand products were sold in small scale. However, some speculators seized the opportunity and spread them into many big cities across the country. In some developed cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, markets selling exclusively these faked brand products came into being.

Things turned nasty when those extra items failed to meet demand. Some factories started to produce faked items. Same faked brand tags, but no longer the same quality. For example, a faked Gucci bag might looked exactly the same as a real one, but the faked one was made of artificial tan instead of genuine leather. An authentic one cost $400, but a faked one cost less than $4.

Many people chose to have a faked one out of economic concern. Even some international stars went to China to buy faked items. At the same time, huge amounts of fakes items were exported, or precisely, smuggled to other countries. “Made in China” has become “Faked in China”.

Realizing the seriousness of this problem, the Chinese government launched several nation-wide campaigns over the past years to crack down faked products.

As we criticise “Faked in China”, we also have to ask ourselves this: if we stop buying faked products, will they stop producing them? Who is to blame ultimately?


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