Nearly 40% Chinese consumers admit to purchasing fake booze

A survey recently conducted by a Chinese newspaper found that close to 40% of respondents admitted to purchasing counterfeit alcohol, leading the paper to declare that booze is the “worst-hit area of fake goods”.

The non-existent ‘second wine’ of Petrus on display at last year’s Chengdu wine fair

According to the Guangzhou-based newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily, in its survey titled ‘Healthy Lifestyle and Consumption White Paper’, 38.2% of respondents admitted to buying counterfeit Baijiu products, while 32.1% admitted to buying fake wine, two of the highest among all the surveyed categories that covered beer, imported spirits, dairy products, soft drinks and baby milk formula.

For beer, 16.92% of consumers confessed to buying bogus products, and 17.78% for imported spirits, the newspaper said.

Explaining the relatively lower rate for beer, Zhu Danpeng, an analyst on China’s food and drinks industry, said it was because of beer’s relatively thin margin compared with Baijiu and wine.

Furthermore, about 70% of the respondents confessed that they don’t know how to tell fake wine or Baijiu, and only 43.9% knew how to defend their consumer rights after being sold fake products.

The findings confirmed that with China’s growing thirst for Baijiu and wine, more and more consumers find themselves coming face to face with counterfeit products.

Most recently, police in Anhui province in eastern China busted a fake Baijiu producing ring and confiscated RMB 30 million (US$4.7 million) worth of fake Baijiu products. Separately in Hubei province, Nanjing police uncovered over 11,700 bottles of fake Baijiu.

Fake wine is also a blight on China’s expanding wine market; projected to become the world’s second most valuable wine market by 2020. Although it’s hard to gauge the exact size of counterfeit wine in mainland China, there’s no shortage of reports of fakes wines of both domestic wine brands and imported bottles.

In Guangdong province, a leading consumer of high-end Baijiu and wine in mainland China, the survey found around 20% of consumers have bought fake Baijiu and wine, relatively lower than the national level.

One Response to “Nearly 40% Chinese consumers admit to purchasing fake booze”

  1. Many alarming numbers in this article. What caught my eye was “and only 43.9% knew how to defend their consumer rights after being sold fake products”. This is where producers need a unified approach with pooled resources to raising consumer awareness and develop a joint industry plan. The only way mislabeling/counterfeit/fake bottles can be stopped is by educating consumers.

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