Lifestyle & Belief

China's massive counterfeiting market may never be the same after major crackdown


A Burmese woman holds counterfeit Chinese made luxury brand ladies bags at an outdoor market in the Golden Triangle, situated along the Thai- Burma border on November 12, 2012 in Tachiliek, Myanmar.


Paula Bronstein

Act fast to get those knock-off bags, because they might not be available for much longer.

Chinese and US authorities have collaborated for the first time to shut down a major counterfeiting operation in the province of Guangdong, according to Women's Wear Daily.

The goods included knock-off handbags that appeared to be brands like Coach, Hermès and Louis Vuitton. Authorities arrested 73 people who were planning to distribute almost a million bags to the Middle East and the United States, according to WWD.

But working together on the operation, the US and China showed that the tide could be turning for counterfeiters, said Kristi Ellis and Casey Hall at WWD.

Bob Barchiesi, president of the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition, said at a press conference that the "crackdown by the Chinese government was unprecedented related to the luxury goods market and the number of arrests made."

“We’ve always believed that China could do far more [in counterfeit enforcement] and obviously this is a great step in the right direction,” Barchiesi said. “I believe there is a lot of pressure from the US government now on China to step up to the plate to protect ... US companies.”

Coach also recently dealt a blow to internet counterfeiters, winning a lawsuit that could set a precedent for the rest of the industry.

The company won $257 million in damages from the defendants, the largest settlement of its kind. Under the judgement, Coach can also seize 573 domain names linked to counterfeit brands, stopping the copycats in their tracks.

More than 80 percent of the $300 billion counterfeit industry is based in China.

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