Chinese counterfeiters are not only targeting foreign brands. Quite the contrary, as Chinese brands gain in popularity and their value is rising steadily, Chinese counterfeiters do not shy away from copying products of their fellow countrymen.
China Weekly reports that Chinese courts have concluded 200,000 cases in 2017 related to IP rights with the number of cases rising an astonishing 40% per year. Even more remarkable is the fact that according to studies from Tongji University, 98% of these disputes took place between Chinese companies.
Some Chinese companies, for example Moutai, a famous brand for spirits, took the opportunity of the national congress last March to air their views on the problem of domestic counterfeiting to the authorities. They also directly addressed the counterfeiters reminding them that counterfeiting only brings short term benefits but long term harm to customer confidence in Chinese products.
Xi Jinping’s statements at the BOAO Forum in April indicate that China is aware of IPR issues: “Strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights is the most important issue in improving the system of property rights protection. It is also the biggest incentive to improve China’s economic competitiveness.”
Further strengthening of IPR protection in China will not only bring advantages for Chinese companies, foreign brands will profit from a harsher regime against counterfeiting, too. With information on Chinese companies getting more easily accessible, also due to the Social Credit System, and anti-counterfeiting getting more professional, it is a good time for companies to reinforce their IP protection in China and crack down on counterfeiters online as well as offline.