Large Amount of Consumer Tech Is Counterfeit, OECD Report Finds

Nearly 20 percent of mobile phones and 25 percent of video game consoles sold internationally are counterfeit, and the numbers are rising, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The report, Trade in Counterfeit ICT Goods, defines counterfeit as a trademark violation, a fake product packaged to look like real thing. The report found China to be the leading source of counterfeit information and communication technology (ICT) goods and United States technology to be hardest hit. The OECD is the organisation of wealthier nations.

The report details complex ways counterfeiters produce and ship these products to avoid detection, often through a maze of ports and with the fake labels added in a different country from manufacturing.

Fakes hit products like smartphone batteries, chargers, memory cards, magnetic stripe cards, solid state drives and music players, the report found. Based on the latest 2013 data, on average, 6.5 percent of ICT products are fakes, it said. It placed a value on lost sales of US$ 143 billion and rising. It also emphasised the safety and health threats of counterfeits, which often use inferior or dangerous components.