Date
24 November 2017
A small Hebei company selling items online claims to be an authorized seller of products by leading brands such as Burberry. Photo: Bloomberg
A small Hebei company selling items online claims to be an authorized seller of products by leading brands such as Burberry. Photo: Bloomberg

The small Hebei heart of a thriving online trade in fakes

They look the part, they’re a fraction of the price and they’re in demand online.

Tencent reported Monday that a number of leading e-commerce shopping sites including Jumei.com and JD.com are being used to distribute knockoff products from a company that claims to be an accredited source but is run out a residential complex in a township in Hebei.

Xiangpeng Hengye Business & Commerce Co. claims to be an authorized supplier of big-brand clothing, jewelry, watches, perfume, cosmetics and wines, and sells its goods through many online shopping sites. But it is a small company based in a housing complex in Yanjiao township, Sanhe, the report said.

Xiangpeng’s offerings range from Armani to Burberry, Dior and Hermes and are delivered to its Hebei office from suppliers in Hubei, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong.

It puts high-quality snaps of the products online along with some fake certificates of authorization and customs clearance documents to convince shoppers they’re getting the real deal for a discount.

More than half of its Burberry and Armani watches sell for 20 to 30 percent of the 5,000 yuan (US$810) going price for the genuine article but cost just 200 yuan to 400 yuan to procure from Zhejiang and Shenzhen, the report said. The poor quality of the watches is reflected in the nearly 3,000 requests for exchange in the first half of the year.

But that hasn’t stopped the company growing to have a monthly turnover of more than 10 million yuan and a headcount of 50. 

It now supplies most of the big e-commerce shopping sites in the country, including Amazon, Gome, Lashou, Zouxiu and Meituan.

These shopping sites may have turned a blind eye to these knockoffs because of the high traffic volumes the fakes generate. Jumei also gets 0.1 percent of the each sale Xiangpeng makes on its platform.

Jumei said it has taken down all of Xiangpeng’s products and all customers who bought from the vendor can get refund, it said.

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