The Fake Trade

The Fake Trade

2008, Crime  -    -  Playlist 27 Comments
Ratings: 7.85/10 from 84 users.

This is a documentary about an illegal activity that's engulfing the world. It's a narrative about the popular brands and the "appetite" gone wild for their imitations. It's a story about how China became the superpower where almost everything is produced and manufactured and in the same time everything is faked. Capitalism's out of hands and rampant. Welcome to the People's Republic of Counterfeiting.

Today the world has a new religion. Our icons, the global brands with their top CEOs, are holding evangelical mass rallies. Although Apple's promotional podcast celebrates its slick Californian designed iPods, its products are made by unseen Chinese factory workers and so are its competitors.

Over the past 20 years this magic route to increase profits has had one unpredicted consequence - the creation of a vast, international counterfeit industry. In January 2007, the senior executives of twenty of the world's biggest corporations came to Switzerland to declare a war on the fakers for threatening their profits.

Many of these brands have never gone public before for fear of damaging our faith in their products. Now for the first time they're appealing directly to us, their consumers. It's the world's biggest anti-counterfeit conference. Twelve hundred delegates have come from all over the world but the speech is strangely avoiding naming the greatest faker of all, until it's time to answer the journalists' questions.

The truth is the brands now depend on China for their workers and the Chinese government doesn't take kindly to criticism. Until thirty years ago China was a sworn enemy of capitalism. Then it allowed the first foreign companies in to open their factories.

Today many commercial cities on the Southern border have huge shopping centers exclusively devoted to fakes from China's copy industry. Tourists go there on special shopping trips, some from as far away as the United States. The fakes on display are just a fraction of what's available there and the stores themselves are shop windows for wholesalers that sell in bulk to international traders.

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2 years ago

These Companies choose to be there in China they know what they are capable of. They deserve to get robbed blind. It was done to apple, I won't even buy that garbage anymore.

8 years ago

Its ok to have them work for you on the cheap and exploit them....but they find a niche and exploit u bac and omg....dont know why they'd expect the consumer to be outraged!! We getting the same product for cheaper prob made in exactly the same factory

8 years ago

Consuming slaves of the world are grateful for counterfeit goods because without them, how can they afford the obscene high prices of the goods?--the same applies to all slaves in all countries in the world. Thanks to the multinationals and thanks to the workers of China. This is a win-win.

gianna Di Biase Castro
8 years ago

puffff, the real brands dont say nothing because they have people on china working the same slaving way on china that the fake ones...not just because it has become cheap, how hypocrite...

8 years ago

do you think that fake brads are the only one exploiting people to thous levels, real brands are doing the same thing....there are people doing iphones on china that have the exact same life.

Caroline Fifi
8 years ago

Those poor workers put in 100 hour weeks? That's disgusting!!!

8 years ago

Making knock-offs of sunglasses, purses, jackets, computer parts, and sport shoes is one thing, but MEDICINES?!?!?! That's absolutely scary!!! And people in this world are dying because of this, particularly, it appears, in Africa. But you can't help wondering what kind of medicines are being purchased south of the border in the U.S. by low-income pensioners trying to save money. And I'll bet there's not a reader here who doesn't get pelted by email ads for cheap meds. Cheap meds from where? And with what in them? The world really needs to join forces and crack down on this dangerous and disgusting trade in counterfeit medicines. Fake Nike's - groan, but fake medicines - those could cost you your life.

9 years ago

Personally, I would not feel compliant with the idea that I am supporting slave labor, especially for products that are of subpar quality simply for the vain pursuit of being able to say "Hey, I have an LV bag or the New Air Yeezys... not only that but the prices of these things are sometimes not even that far from actual price items.. and durability of quality literally is what it is.. the end of the triangle alot of people are just not taking the time to know themselves...... all is out of love though..

9 years ago

No sympathy for the name brand CEO's. Maggie Thatcher started it all, she broke British Industry, her fake re-training schemes provided argon-welders for the Kobe shipyards. Sold machine-tool technology to Korea. After mini-cabbing in London for five years, came out here in 1990 and have spent 10 years in China and 14 in HK. The British wouldn't employ me either reporting on my experiences in this country nor back there teaching Chinese - because I don't have a degree ! I have bought rip-offs of Vacheron and Constantine, IWC, Patek Philipe, Versace watches. 3 still working well after 12 years. Name brands vastly over-priced they deserve to be screwed. DVDs out here vary tremendously in quality - the Russian fakes so bad it has destroyed most of that line. I tell the local kids not to buy Nike to save the slavery of others their own age. American medicines are dangerous in any case. I like art, so why can't a working man enjoy having a Tretchikov on the wall ? There are two sides to this 'piracy ' bulls*it don't forget.

9 years ago

Is anyone surprised after the fact; of copies made of our worshipped products & our religious fervour for for all these brand named items?

It is & was inevitable that this would happen. It is a bizarre concept to me that people so eagerly line up & pay the premiums they do directly to a manufacturer of goods to wear & advertise their slogan not only for free but at a significant cost to themselves.

My ex-wife is a fashion designer. I am intimately aware of the game of brands & design that so many people desire. For so many years I wore clothing with a hole punched in the shoulder or hip that my wife patched with a label. They were free samples of her designs imported from Hong Kong, India or else where with out taxes or duty. I couldn't care less about labels although the clothing I wore was very much desired & made by a popular design house in the USA.

It was only a matter of time that other manufacturers began to replicate these designs. Now it seems everything is up for copying.

This should not be a surprise to anyone. You will however get what you pay for. That has not changed. Oh yeah, almost forgot, I have been to ShenZhen on a couple of occasions. Just north of Hong Kong & the New Territories in China. My first time there it was like a small dirty frontier town. The narrator is not exaggerating. it was a small village on the verge of growing when I first went there in the early-mid 90's, Now it is a huge economic centre. It is mind boggling to see a small town grow into a huge metropolis in just a decade. All based on manufacturing name brand products & copying other more desirable & expensive products.

To put it into perspective for my fellow Canadian viewers, it would be like seeing a small prairie town grow into a city 4 times larger than Toronto in a decade.

Steve Savage
9 years ago

What about the worthless bogus pharmaceuticals that are sold by counterfeiters using poisonous solvents mixed into drugs that have figured in mass poisonings around the world that killed thousands. Counterfeiters use free trade zones to hide a drug’s provenance or to make or relabel adulterated products.

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts"

Eric Lawson
9 years ago

The Cat is out of the bag !!!!There is no way to stop it now. When you have all Walmarts selling Chinese products. Almost all products are made in China. All but their Produce.. How many Walmarts are there? I do not make enough money to buy name brands .Neither do any of my friends so we all shop at Walmarts because of their cheap prices and care not of where they are made.It is effecting our factories as well.Not sure if there are any easy answers here.When the name brands themselves also use Chinese laborers . What can a manufacturer from my country do to compete.

9 years ago

I'd buy fake with no shame, but i don't wear brand names for wearing brand names.
No one will stop fake production, but fake production might stop brand name craziness.

9 years ago

This is a racist documentary. It is like a UK version of Dateline or any other entertainment documentaries, shallow and in-your-face, fun and stupid. Chinese do not have a "culture of copying" (direct quote from the film) any more than the European countries have a culture of being fair-and-balanced. Chinese-made fakes is unique to our time, an accident of history, because China has a lot of cheap labor, ultra corrupt government, all parts of brand products are made in China, and China has a lot of poor people who have been thrust into the brave new world of do-or-die global capitalism. What options do these poor souls have. The beginning of the film makes it sound like making fake products is a uniquely Chinese phenomenon when in fact it is inherent in any highly polarized, hence unfair, and competitive marketplace. The makers of this documentary should have tried to give a historical perspective and offer a fair analysis, if not a sympathetic view, of what is driving people to produce fakes, and buying fakes. They could start by asking why should we the public even enforce the brand when these brand companies are avoiding paying tax in their home countries. Sure, fake drugs kill but not fake brand shoes. They need to recognize that Chinese fake makers are victims as well. A venomous game of let-us-blame-the-Chinese-for-all-our-ills will not get the problem resolved.

~Oliver B Koslik Esq
9 years ago

Wow that was a great Documentary!
Totally worth the 1.5hrs!

9 years ago

One thing I've learned in my lifetime is that there are two types of people - the people who have the nice life, house, car, stuff, career, money etc, and the people who don't. In other words, the have's and the have not's.

Don't get me wrong I've learned many things however, in the context of your documentary there was a repetitive theme featured throughout which I feel needs to be changed.

For example, it's not that people like a bargain. That's the old archaic thinking. These days, people want to have the same access capabilities as everyone else. Meaning, they want to have what everybody else has. And, if people can access something for a cheaper price then - yeah, you can say people like a bargain.

There was a poignant interview with a young asian girl who shared that her mother (under pressure to pay her debts) sold her to a businessman for US$600. I was sincerely saddened when her story was minimised to take only a few minutes to be told! I was truly disappointed that further information about this heinous component of counterfeiting was omitted.

I've recommended so many people to watch this documentary. I thought it was brilliant!


9 years ago

Gangstalkers actually do counterfeiting of sorts.
Not only in misrepresenting their target in smear campaigns.

They look for people that subscribe to their mentality, that looks like family/friends of their target. So as to perform street theater in attempts of "headspace domination"...

Similar to those that, drive the consumeristic vanity disorder that has haunted the 90%. Both (Gangstalking & Counterfeiting) spawn a distorted & delusional pathology of sociological values.

-Plus one!
9 years ago

i wanna open my own chinese sweat shop!

9 years ago do I know this doc isn't a knock-off?