The US Trade Representative recently released a blacklist to address the notorious market around the world, which basically is accused of the counterfeit merchandise. The list included taobao from China for the second times. also include the ‘famous’ Silk Market, Hongqiao Market in Beijing, the former is online platform, and the later is offline market.
I know lots of foreigners would go to the two offline market when they come to China, I won’t judge here, but I have to admit there are indeed lots of counterfeit goods there, the same thing goes to taobao , which is the world famous e commerce giant from China.
I think even US blame China for this, these markets would be there for a long time unless the economic ecosystem was broken some days in some way, what I want to talk about here is some detail information about these markets.
Basically, the formal market was formed in 1985, and famous for apparel, and in later 1990s, counterfeit goods rose with the lack of the law enforcement, also because Sick Market is in the embassy district. more and more foreigners came to buy cheaper apparel. But after 2005, with the revamp of the sick market, all merchant have to afford extremely high rental fee to entering this market. So I think since then, this market had gone downhill, and loss their specialty and attraction to most people. even worse, during these years, they have to sell lower quality level product to maintain the profit margin, then lost more client, kind of vicious circle. So if you are a visitor to Beijing, you definitely have no reason to go there again.
I just wait and see when this market would be out of business or transfer to other business model
This market sells jewelry, and famous for the pearl, some years ago, one of my foreign friends indeed asked me for the address of Hongqiao market to bring some peal for his wife in US. This market had developed since the middle of 1990s, and the pearl is their specialty, coupled with other jewelry business around this market, so if you want to buy pearl here today, it’s still fine. but for me, the pearl business in China have no recognized standard or quality level trusted certification, the seller also can cheat you easily. Also the counterfeit pearl or jewelry is common here, you got more chance to be screwed up without noticing.
The darkest side of these Chinese market for me is bargain problem, there are no obvious price level, price on label is extremely untrusted, bargain is hell for the new customer, because bunch of the sophisticated sellers would cheat you easily. And you would never win this battle.
Compared to these two offline market, I’d like to recommend Taobao. The fundamental reason behind this is if you do want to buy some counterfeit goods, the seller basically will clearly tell you or you can tell it by the online price. you won’t get cheat easily as you got platform refund policy and all the counterfeit goods got the similar price range. which you are not in the dark for price position in the offline market.
Also Taobao do boost the business for the authentic and quality level product, although there are ways to fake your transaction record, but in general, customer got more protection from the platform. Any platform got counterfeit goods more or less, I think if someone need to be blamed, the law far behind and law enforcement should be the first.
For me, even for the high value product, I’d rather go online than the offline store, because I am kinda in the bright side, not dark side in offline store.
Conclusion: Go online, not offline in China.