CHINA - Face masks made in Taiwan ranked as the No. 1 counterfeit product manufactured mainly for use by mainland tourists, according to statistics compiled by the Customs Administration.
Last year Taiwan's customs office seized 96,389 counterfeit items that violate trademark, copyright and patent rights. Items favoured by mainland Chinese tourists and name brands liked by young people comprised the majority of seized items.
According to the Customers Administration, the Ministry of Finance, the top five counterfeit categories uncovered in order are face masks, clothes, mechanical parts, leather products and cell phones.
In recent years, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan has been growing rapidly, and many Chinese travelers purchase face masks during their stay in Taiwan. The reason is that face masks made in Taiwan are known for their quality, diversity and reasonable pricing. One of the local brands has become so popular that inventory shortages often occur in stores visited by Chinese tourists.
Seeing a business opportunity, unscrupulous businessmen have started to manufacture counterfeit Taiwan-made face masks, which are then imported into Taiwan and sold to Chinese tourists. Businesses have made a huge profit by doing so.
Given local young people's preference for American and European clothing brands and the lack of distribution outlets in Taiwan, counterfeit products from name brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch are also popular on the island.
High-priced mechanical parts, such as Mercedes and BMW wheel rims, ranked third in seized counterfeit items. Leather bags from name brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel or Gucci, also have counterfeit versions in Taiwan. As for cell phones, a number of counterfeit iPhones have also been discovered in Taiwan.
Following the government's commitment to enforce intellectual property protection, the Customs Administration recently increased its efforts to enforce a ban on exports and imports of pirated and counterfeit products.
The government has in recent years paid more attention to countries and entities that have a track record of exporting or importing counterfeit and pirated products. For example, an address that is registered with multiple companies would look very suspicious to the government, which will examine their exported or imported products more closely.