China’s factories excel in quality, low in branding

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/18 23:18:40

Mobile photo shows the Wangfujing shopping street in Beijing, capital of China, July 25, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhu Weixi)

Chinese police recently destroyed a transnational industry chain that produced fake luxury bags bearing the labels of Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Chanel in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province. These were sold in the domestic and overseas markets, with the amount involved in the cases put at 1.7 billion yuan ($242 million).  

The crackdown on making and selling fake luxury goods demonstrated China's determination to protect intellectual property rights (IPR), which is one of the most problematic issues in talks with the US to end the ongoing trade war. China won't offer the US side mere empty promises. Practical efforts have been made to enhance IPR protection in China.

If we put aside discussions about IPR temporarily and focus on the industry chain, the amount involved in the cases surprised us, because it was much higher than originally thought. 

The ability to imitate global luxury brands suggests that China has world-leading technology and manufacturing ability. Some imitations are even better than genuine ones in terms of quality. China's manufacturing sector is advanced - the only thing missing is brand building. 

The incident offers a window on China's manufacturing capabilities. China is the world's factory, and it reportedly has the world's largest industrial output. Chinese manufacturers run their businesses in a cost-effective way, and that allows them to offer affordable products to the world. 

Made-in-China products have made a major contribution to reining in inflation in the global economy and benefiting low-income consumers. Chinese manufacturers can enable global consumers to enjoy cost-effective products that have the same high quality as luxury brands.

China's advanced manufacturing ability makes it more urgent for China to crack down on the production and sale of fake luxury goods to protect IPR. Protection of IPR in China is improving and there are growing instances of crackdowns on IPR thieves.

But there's an urgent need for China's manufacturing sector to focus more on brand building. Chinese businesses still lack awareness of that factor, and they lag behind in terms of global brand influence. It's time to address that problem step by step, and the protection of IPR is one requirement in that effort.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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