Counterfeit & Grey Market
However attractive and lucrative China may be for global brands, it still poses a threat in its large grey/counterfeit market. China is well-known for its fake and counterfeit products. They are often sold at a far lower price than real, branded goods. The quality and authenticity of counterfeit products within the Chinese digital space are constantly improving, while also becoming more readily available. It is still advisable that any foreign brands looking to sell in China monitor Chinese eCommerce marketplaces for infringing products. By moving quickly, you will be able to have infringing products removed from sale and preserve and strengthen your market share. Although some companies find that internet monitoring is time consuming, brands may find themselves at high risk if they sell their product on the Chinese market, manufacture their product in China or even if they have a popular product on sale in Europe.
Trademark Protection in China
In order for companies to protect their brand or domain, they will need to register their trademark via Baidu. Trademarks in China are registered under a ‘first come first serve’ basis so it is important to act quickly. Simply registering your trademark will not remove all violators from the Chinese digital space, but will allow brands to assert their authenticity as a legally legitimate organization. The requirements for China trademark registration are as follows:
- A trademark application has to be filed before the Trademark Office by a local agent.
- A signed power of attorney is necessary.
- Foreign applicants do not need a domestic company registration.
- Foreign applicants can only file through an officially recognized agent.
- A copy of the business certificate (if the applicant is a company) or a copy of the applicant’s ID card or passport (if the applicant is an individual) is required.
After registering, brands much take the process of finding and reporting violators into their own hands.
Tips on how to find infringing products online:
- Search for names which are identical or similar to your brand or product name.
- Search for your brand or product name in Chinese. Chinese consumers often translate brand names into Chinese, either as a phonetic translation or by translating the meaning. Where possible ask a Chinese colleague or use a translation tool to search e-commerce sites in Chinese.
- You may also find more results by conducting your search through a Chinese search engine (baidu.com or bing.com).
- Search for items in the same category as your product.
- Use your product name plus your home country as key search terms.
Third-party resellers within China are assisting brands with the removal of counterfeit products. They offer a swift service to have violators removed from their platform. Last year alone, Chinese site Alibaba identified 4,495 leads related to counterfeiting through its local taskforce. By leveraging strong relationships with sites such as Baidu, Tmall and Alibaba, brands can better protect themselves and their product, while seeing threats removed quickly.
Web Presence in China & Discripto
A powerful program called ‘Discripto’ was developed by WPIC that allows companies to track and remove any counterfeit products being sold online from third party sites such as Taobao, Tmall, Alibaba, Baidu and JD, as well as standalone sites. WPIC deploys programmatic technology and produces and comprehensive list of trademark violators, counterfeiters, and grey market resellers. By leveraging long-standing relationships with China platforms, WPIC can quickly remove violators, ensuring top rankings on search engines, reducing advertising competition and protecting your unique brand experience.
Beijing-based Web Presence In China (WPIC) is an independent, full service digital marketing and IT development agency. Having over 13 years of on the ground experience in the China digital sector, the firm has worked with over 300 global companies and leads a team of 120 people between their global offices. WPIC supports China and the greater APAC region in digital and IT solutions.