On my flight to Qingdao from Hong Kong one day, I grabbed a Hong Kong Standard and my attention went to this interesting comment in one of the letters to the Editor from a gentleman by the name of Justin Lau.
Quote” I had no choice but to leave midway through Lady Gaga’s show on Wednesday after her insulting remarks about Hong Kong. Her flippant claims – both on Twitter and during the show – that our streets are lined with fake Birkins are not only incorrect but defamatory” unquote. My thumbs up to Justin to show his disapproval by his actions (especially given the $$$$$ he paid to watch the concert)
Sadly the above quote reflects the beliefs held by many of our human counterparts due to their lack of understanding or lack of (mental) exposure to the world beyond the walls of their own country /region or culture. Perhaps more unfortunate is the lack of realization of the limitation of their outlook.
I remember back in school donkey years ago, in my rudimentary economics lesson I was taught that in a market there is demand and supply. For commercial enterprises, if there is no demand for a product (or no one is willing to pay), then there would no supply of such product.
So where are the sources of demand for ‘Fakes’. Here are some of my observations: When I walk the streets of Tsimshatsui shopping area by myself; being Asian looking, I could breeze through without being hassled by some guy on the street asking you whether you would like to buy fake Rolex watches. When I walk the same street with a Caucasian friend, trouble comes, a walk that takes 10 minutes becomes 30 minutes due to the frequent “Rolex watch hassle”.
Well, these “Rolex” vendors are not stupid, they know clearly that the tourists from China are the ones crowding the real Rolex store, the LV shop, the Gucci store, etc. Yes sometimes you find them squatting on the street outside these stores as well which can be another interesting sight.
The western tourists are their target market, according to their “customer analysis”
So are European branded goods the only victim of fake production? Certainly not. China being the “world factory” certainly would not ignore the rapidly growing domestic market. The famous (and very strong) Chinese liquor “Moutai” is frequently forged. One can go to specialty stores of getting Moutai replicas. There you can customize your Moutai so that you can choose your percentage of water and the kind of liquor you wish to mix with your water. And as for bottling, you can get a genuine Moutai bottle. Thanks to your ‘green’ friends who sell these bottles to vendors who purchase them for ‘specialty’ stores.
With a bit of mix and match, you can get your customized Moutai gift for your “favorite” official whom you need to impress. With the ingrained culture of gift giving to higher officials and the complexity and scope of Chinese bureaucracy, the demand for the “Moutai” gift shall certainly remain and flourish.
Another reality about branded goods in Asia is, the ‘show off, feel good, and ‘pressure to own’ factors drive the motivation of many OLs (Office ladies) to carry their Gucci, LVs, etc to their offices. The Taitais, of course need a Berkin or at least a Chanel. For such motives, would the fake fulfill the purpose? Probably not. For the tourists, the excitement of getting a “fake” is perhaps fun?
So how can one stop the fake market when this market is supported by so many of different cultures and background through action? Let’s not label Hong Kong or any other city, to be a city of fake, because the demand for fake goods transcends beyond this city.
Dear Lady Gaga
Are you reading this?
Best regards Disappointed fan ( sorry I meant previously a fan)