Counterfeits of beverages made by Wahaha, seen here in a supermarket, are commonplace in rural areas. (Photo/CFP)
Many defective products are sold in rural parts of China as a result of the country's urban-rural dual economic structure, says Niu Fang, a director at the Shaanxi Academy of Social Sciences.
The dual economic structure has arisen due to the difference in consumption power between cities and rural areas, as well as the imbalance in government supervision. "The government places more emphasis on cities in terms of enforcement efforts and measures. The control and management of defective and counterfeit items in the countryside remains insufficient," Niu said.
With the approach of the Chinese New Year holiday, many counterfeit holiday food products have been identified in rural areas. People's Daily has reported fake candy imitating the well-known White Rabbit and Hsu Fu Chi brands for sale in the wholesale market of Jintang county in Sichuan. The fake products were being sold for 7 yuan (US$1.15) per 500g while genuine goods cost 24 yuan (US$4) per 500g. They were mixed together to cheat customers.
In Weinan in Shaanxi, many expired products including soy sauce, food oil and children's snacks were being sold cheap but their date of manufacture had been erased.
Counterfeits of food and beverages made by Tingyi and Wahaha are commonly seen in stores in rural areas, where local residents say they have no choice but to accept counterfeit and defective goods, People's Daily said.
A villager living under the jurisdiction of Guangyuan in Sichuan revealed that it takes about 20 minutes on a scooter to go to the nearest town, so they have to buy fake products from nearby stores if they need something quickly.
An official from the Sichuan Administration Bureau for Industry and Commerce said people in the countryside need to known more about how to protect themselves, while the government needs to strengthen its supervision.