Why China won’t give up Kingdom of Fakes title any time soon

Earlier this year stores in Hong Kong that sell paper goods to be used as offerings to the dead were astonished to receive a letter from Italian luxury brand Gucci warning them to stop selling paper versions of its goods.“These products are offerings for the dead, not the living, so how can we be violating copyright?” said one indignant shop owner in Sheung Wan.

The story is vivid evidence of how, 15 years after joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) and despite high-profile campaigns by the government, China remains the undisputed King of Fakes.

The latest report by the OECD in April this year estimated that the global value of imported fake goods in 2013 was US$461 billion, accounting for 2.5 percent of all trade, up 84 percent from US$250 billion or 1.8 percent of all trade in 2007.