Adidas shoes at the sportswear giant's flagship store in Hong Kong. (Photo/Xinhua)
A vigorous crackdown led by Adidas to rid Taobao — China's largest e-commerce website — of sellers of counterfeit Adidas goods, has begun to see success but small and medium stores continue to flood the website selling the fake products, Beijing's China Business Journal reports.
Taobao closed over 1,000 counterfeit Adidas sellers last year but it is still possible to find numerous results featuring the company's products priced under 100 yuan (US$16) after a general search on the website.
Hong Po (pseudonym) is a vendor of counterfeit Adidas products on Taobao, who had been enjoying a thriving business before receiving a notice from the website in mid-May. He said that during peak times, he could sell over 10,000 yuan (US$1,600) worth of items per day, pocketing over 3,000 yuan (US$490) in profit.
After receiving the notice from Taobao revoking his vending license in May, Hong will now sell sportswear from other famous brands. Numerous other counterfeit Adidas vendors on Taobao have also switched to Nike and other brands in the face of the crackdown.
Several of the vendors have also managed to circumvent the website's attempts to clamp down on counterfeit goods. "Many vendors have registered multiple seller IDs, thereby continuing to sell the products despite the closure of one or two of their online stores. Some vendors also selling authentic Adidas products alongside the counterfeits, so that they can produce an official invoice of the purchases" said Hong.
Presently upon receiving complaints about sellers selling the counterfeit goods, Taobao initially sends a letter of notice to the online vendors, who have several days to prove the authenticity of their products or face the suspension or even closure of their business.
Luo Jin, a senior PR manager at Alibaba, Taobao's parent firm, said that Taobao from its inauguration has instituted anti-counterfeit mechanisms, including establishing a professional investigation team, which now consists of over 2,000 members.
According to a report by Euromonitor International, Adidas ranked second place in China's sportswear market with a 11.2% share last year, trailing only to Nike that took 12.1% of the market share. Adidas attributes the extraordinary performance to its expansion in lower-tier cities, opening 400 new stores last year. The company also plans to extend its reach a total 1,400 stores in lower-tier cities by 2015, up from the current 900 stores, the China Business Journal said.