Rich Chinese irate over fake Italian imports


Zhuang Xiuhua (C), the CEO of Chinese furniture retailer 'Leonardo da Vinci', answering questions during a press conference in Beijing after the Chinese media accused it of selling fake furniture at high prices, causing a stir among consumers. Officials said on July 15 they are probing the Beijing-based company which specialises in extravagant luxury furniture, and which is suspected of passing off made-in-China goods as expensive Italian designer items.



Among China's newly rich, nothing signals success like imported European luxury: Lamborghinis, $3,000 bottles of Pinot Noir and furniture hand-crafted in Italy.

But in the world's counterfeit mecca, where illicit factories churn out Gucci purses and fake iPods alike, even the wealthy are duped into buying knock offs.

The Chinese media is reporting that a furniture brand popular among the rich across Asia has been selling items tagged "Made in Italy" that are actually made closer to home in industrial China.

Other furniture, officials said, was labelled "rare wood" but made of fiberboard instead. Many of the brand's items cost tens of thousands of dollars.

According to Reuters and AFP, the Da Vinci brand denies the allegations made by Shanghai authorities.

One unconvinced customer told China Daily outlet he wanted to return all of his nearly $500,000 worth of purchases to the store, Reuters reported.