continually try to fight counterfeit and pirated material, but often fall short
of successfully making a difference in stopping this billion-dollar industry.
Counterfeiters are willing to steal anything from cash and tech products to
gas, oil and cigarettes that consumers are mistakenly purchasing under the
misconception of receiving real products.
Investigators in China are looking into a counterfeit Apple store that closely
mimics a legitimate Apple store in other parts of the world. The store is
located in Kunming and isn't identified as an authorized Apple retailer, and
police investigators visited the store. From blogger photos and on-site
investigation, even the employees wore identical Apple employee t-shirts you'd
see in any other Apple store.
Ironically, the demand for counterfeit goods could generate larger business revenue for Apple,
if the company wants to promote legal products. A real iPad 2 can be
purchased for up to $499, and in other parts of China can reach almost $600 in
price, with counterfeiters able to draw in shoppers by offering lower-cost
Other tech companies have adjusted price scales depending how prevalent pirated
and stolen property is in China and other parts of the world, while also
creating anti-counterfeit investigation teams.
Although it would seem unbelievable, similar faked stores have opened to sell
counterfeit clothing and other consumer goods -- both inside China's borders,
and across the world, including into the United States.
Consumers often ignore counterfeiting as solely a corporate problem, but
companies warn everyone plays a role. When shoppers head into
neighborhoods to purchase fake handbags or movies, they understand it's a faked
product; however, consumers purchasing counterfeit goods are being deceived
into thinking it's a legitimate product.
Anti-counterfeit efforts have greatly increased by US federal authorities and
across the world -- and it's not just the Chinese government that has to face
this growing problem. Authorities have discovered counterfeit goods can
be significantly more profitable than drugs, with higher profit value and lower
risk of jail time when caught.
A recent counterfeit smuggling ring based in China was busted making more than 11 million fake cigarettes with an
estimated street value of almost $5M. These cigarettes were aimed for the
UK market, but increasing tobacco tax in the United States also makes it a
lucrative market for fake cigarettes.
Furthermore, counterfeit issues also plague medical patients trying to purchase
real medications that are brought in from Mexico, South America, and other
parts of the world. Another recent epidemic includes fake consumer
electronics that lead to hardware failure and electrical fires. US
investigators are most worried about these types of products being sold over
the Internet, brought into the country, and otherwise hitting the streets due
to public safety issues.
Companies from multiple industries plan to battle counterfeit goods, and
actively assist police and federal authorities, as billions of dollars are up
for grabs by sometimes clever criminals. These companies also are trying
to launch education efforts to help consumers to pay attention to the products
they purchase, and where these items are reportedly coming from.