If I had a dollar for everytime a customer asked me for branded goods from china I would be a rich man, I would be even richer had I taken those orders and sent out replica goods.
The hard truth is that you cannot buy genuine branded goods here direct from the factories. If someone tells you they can they are lying. That genuine iPhone you have seen advertised at $150 USD because the seller “Has a friend that works at the factory” is a copy, give it 5-7 days shipping time and you will see for yourself.
You can of course buy branded goods here. I should know as I have lost and replaced enough iPhones since I arrived here to bankrupt a small business. It is also possible to get branded goods direct from a Chinese wholesaler or from a distributor, that’s after all where the shops are buying them from here in China before retailing them. It’s worth noting however that pretty much all of these none Chinese brands are more expensive here than anywhere else in the world. Why?
It was a big surprise to me to walk into a shopping mall here and see double the price on many items I could buy back home in England. I kind of felt like I was missing something, I’m in China after all what gives?
The short answer is that China has very high taxes on all none Chinese brands and that means anything that is classed as an “Imported” brand will have an inflated price. I assume that this is to promote the sale of home grown products and protect the Chinese internal economy but with them actually making these foreign branded goods here n the first place it’s a bit of a double edged sword.
There was a time, just about when i started University, when I too dreamed of importing high end branded and designer goods straight from the factory in China. It made perfect sense to me. All the goods are made there so they must be cheaper there right? Even if I can’t get them from the factory the products have to be cheaper in the shops as you would assume there are less fees associated with them getting to market being as there is no export or shipping etc. Right?
At the time eBay was rife with sellers moving very large numbers of branded designer goods. I was looking at a seller in particular who was selling very very large volumes of a classic trainer – the Nike air max. They were about £95 in the shops and on just one line this seller was moving about 60 units a day at £55. I was keen to get a slice of the action and went on my way looking for a factory who could sell me these trainers. There were of course endless amounts of “Factories” very keen to sell me genuine Nike trainers and my MSN contact list soon became full of various factory employees with whom I was negotiating an order with.
I soon found myself asking the same question repeatedly and receiving the same vague answers. “Are these genuine Nike trainers” I would ask “Yes there genuine quality” hmmm what exactly does that mean? I must probe a little more directly “Are these Adidas trainers fake?” i would bluntly message “No no my friend they are same same, original” was the reply.
More often than not this factory was also producing UGG boots, Rolex watches, RayBans and iPods. Something about one factory making all theses products didn’t quite stack up. Don’t be impressed by all this name dropping though, here are some examples of the quality fake branded goods you can get here, you would be surprised how good they are.
Fake SD and USB memory cards, Dont be fooled.
Copy Canon Binoculars – looking pretty good?
Fake Apple keyboard and mouse, actually look exactly the same as my real ones.
Sure this stuff looks pretty good, some of the copy goods even work well but all is defiantly not what it seems.
This is where perhaps the biggest and most valuable tool any successful importer needs to have rears its head. You don’t need buy any ebook from me at £39.95 or even download my black ninja secret suppliers list, you just need Common Sense.
I guess “Common Sense” isn’t really a good phrase anymore, afterall i genuinely don’t think that everyone has it. So in retrospect perhaps its not that common? I have a joke with my little brother that, though much more of an academic than me, he has no “common ability”. I say this because he cant do simple manual labour type things such as work a drill or assemble a flat pack wardrobe. The kind of thing i would assume most people should be able to do but in reality perhaps cant. The same must go for common sense then as everyday i see forum posts from people wondering why the Gucci bags they ordered are made of plastic or worse still the product they paid for by bank transfer never arrived at all. Maybe common sense is the new sixth sense? can a i trademark that?
Ask yourself this. Would Apple really be using a factory to manufacture there goods who also then sells their products to every stay at home mum looking to make some extra money? Would a factory making Nikon cameras employ people to then undercut their retail prices selling them on the main “safe” china trading websites?
It doesn’t sound right, Right? Well common sense says that if someone is offering you these kinds of goods at a low price they are either a) Fake or b) The seller has no intention of sending you anything. It is worth noting that in the case of “b” this also applies to a seller offering any type of goods for sale at a suspectly low price. For example the Wushan Christian Gospel LED TV company selling a 50″ LED for $100 sounds good but common sense should tell you that this little container is never going to arrive.
I guess in a safe western society a lot of us could be wrongly forgiven for losing this common sense, maybe in our normal day to day lives we don’t need it? we are coated in bubble wrap sometimes and don’t need to second guess the environment around us. I never checked the date on food from Tesco in the UK, no need to as staff rotate stock daily – if it was out of date i could sue them for millions right? ha ha. Not in China, i have to even check that here or could end up in bed for a week.
In a rapidly changing economy this asinine attitude is not an excuse as there is no one to bail you out if you get caught short. You have to regain that sharpness we all had at some point in order to succeed. Your dealing with a country here that has been suppressed for years, watching westerners with there fancy cars and big houses, sitting, waiting, wanting. Now the Chinese have a chance to get these things and a lot of them will do anything to do so. Pretending that a branded product is real via email doesn’t sound so bad if you can get a nice Mercedes out of it…
In China there is a mentality that to create the best copy is to be the best in business. There are miles and miles of factories and markets dedicated to this and they are really good at it. The copies are often as good if not better than the real thing. Some designer handbags for instance use a better grade leather than the real thing, that’s right it’s not only the Chinese suppliers trying to cut corners, Prada likes to save money where it can too. Obviously some copies are terrible but it all just comes down to price.
So now we are beginning to establish that those beats by Dre headphones your thinking of making your first million on might cost you all of your spare capital or worse get you your first criminal record. Afterall counterfeit goods are a big problem and a serious offence if you get caught doing it. With the amount of great things available to export from China I feel like its not worth selling fake goods but everyday I see countless people here doing it, most of them flying about in Porsche’s. I guess crime pays…for a short while at least.
I will answer a few questions about importing counterfeit / fake branded goods from china here just so i have covered all the bases. Who knows, maybe i will save someone somewhere from losing there lifes savings? that would be nice.
I imported a sample order of some designer handbags from a seller i found on a major China wholesale website and they arrived at my house, does that mean they are real and i’m safe to make a big order?
No, What this means is that the order, i assume sent by air, was too small to get noticed and simply slipped through the net. This does happen and is how a lot of fake goods come to enter the market. It does not mean that customs stopped your goods, inspected them and were satisfied that they were infact real brand name goods. Unfortunately there is no way for customs officials to stop and inspect every consignment entering the country. Eventually one of your packages will get stop, searched, confiscated and you may receive a followup visit from HMRC.
My goods are shown with all original labels and packaging so they must be real?
No, there are entire markets here dedicated to selling fake labels, tags, boxes, bags and security marks for all brand name goods be it clothing or electronics. Its just as easy to buy a fake iPad box here as it is to buy a fake iPad.
How about if i email Foxconn directly (the manufactures of the iPhone amongst other things) and ask them to buy from them in bulk?
They would never risk losing a multi million pound manufacturing deal with Apple to sell you goods, let alone the legal implications of doing so. If you are intent on buying iPhones you can contact a distribution agent in your sales territory but i can assure you that the MOQ will be very high along with vigorous sales stipulations and you will not be excited by the margins offered.
When all is said and done i am aware that men have built empires here from this and will continue to do so for years to come as the insatiable global desire for hi end goods with low end pricing grows. I don’t approve of it but who am I to judge?
When importing from China please use you common sense but if you feel you may have lost yours please feel free to use mine.
Do you have any questions on this topic or have you got a story about being tricked into importing fake goods from China you want to share? Ask below and I will answer.