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Latest China Knock-Off Craze: Luxury (Shopping) Bags
Feb 20, 2017

The ability to flaunt Gucci and Chanel shopping bags has long drawn Chinese shoppers to luxury labels. But now China’s high-end show-offs are figuring out that there’s no need to spend thousands of yuan for a bag that’s available online for a mere fraction of the price.

According to a report in the state-run China Daily, shopping bags emblazoned with names like Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada and Burberry have become the latest must-haveamong Chinese online shoppers – and in true China fashion, most of them are fake.

Online peddler Wang Xuesheng sold more than 600 Louis Vuitton-logo sacks in one month on e-commerce site, the report said. Cost per bag: 3 yuan, or roughly $0.50.

“I used to produce paper bags for people who had created their own brands for online stores but later I noticed an increasing demand for paper bags with logos from high-end goods,” the China Daily quoted Mr. Wang as saying.

Mr. Wang said his profit margins were low compared to the companies who offered genuine shopping bags. He makes around 200 yuan per day, the report said.

A separate report in the Shandong Daily (in Chinese) said transparent plastic bags that Prada and Chanel began handing out this summer proved unpopular online as potential buyers worried about exposing the bags’ true contents.

The rise of the fake pricey parcel market reveals the extent to which consumers care about status symbols in China and the role that brands have come to play in the country. Showing off is a major reason that the luxury industry is booming in China. The world’s fastest-growing luxury market, China is poised to become the world’s largest market for luxury goods by 2020, according to investment research group CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets.

To be sure, the branded-bag buying craze isn’t unique to China: Consumers in Korea have been willing to shell out as much as $30 for knock-off luxury sacks.

China’s consumers go to other extremes. According to China Daily, many ask for fake receipts to go inside the bag.