Police in Guangzhou City of southern China’s Guangdong Province uncovered a criminal group that manufactured counterfeit luxury purses recently, and seized what they said was over a billion yuan ($163 million) worth of Louis Vuitton items.
Guangzhou public security stated on Thursday that police arrested 14 suspects. They said that police had already in June destroyed six illegal plants that produced fake Louis Vuitton goods. A counterfeit Louis Vuitton website, which looked strikingly similar to the real thing, was also shut down.
Police seized finished and semi-finished products that could have made 180,000 purses and handbags worth one billion yuan, they said. Another 11,000 counterfeit Louis Vuitton suitcases, 30 million fake labels, a number of fake sales receipts, and 27 different pieces of equipment needed to make the fake leather purses and handbags were also seized.
A large variety of counterfeit goods are manufactured in China, and many such rackets have been broken up in recent years. On May 20, 630,000 sets of fake Nike and Adidas track suits, worth nearly 20 million yuan ($3.2 million), were seized in Guangzhou.
Just this year in Guangzhou, police have cracked 943 cases involving counterfeiters, and have arrested 749 suspects, the authorities said in a public statement.
High quality imitations of luxury goods are popular among Chinese consumers, because they are affordable while still allowing the consumer to show off their brand awareness. Counterfeit rings not only sell to China, but also have overseas markets for their wares.
Even the iPhone 6 released earlier this month has a Chinese counterfeit—called the “Sophone i6.” It aims to clone as precisely as possible the appearance and interface of the iPhone 6, and is selling on the website Fast Card Tech for only $140—offering stiff competition to the iPhone’s hefty expected sales price of $800.