Summary of A Map of China's Bootleg Industry

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When you live in the country that has the world’s highest level of counterfeiting, you will end up buying fake products at some point. Chinese people are almost resigned to this reality. While the word “bootleg” may evoke images of poor street vendors in rundown, underdeveloped countries, China’s counterfeit industry actually thrives in its urban economic hubs. In an article published by NetEase’s WeChat wemedia account Wellestudio163, reporter Wang Yiwei walks readers through China’s counterfeit jungle to explain why eliminating fake products is so difficult. While the article skims over the effect of the counterfeit industry’s on the economy and society, it provides an overview of the workings behind China’s infamous reputation as “Bootleg Nation.” getAbstract recommends this report to anyone interested in economic development or law enforcement and to shoppers around the globe. 

About the Author

Wang Yiwei is a writer for the WeChat wemedia account Wellestudio163, a product of the tech company NetEase. 



The global market for counterfeit products – already a behemoth – is getting larger and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. A study by the International Chamber of Commerce shows that between 1988 and 2008, the global fake-goods industry grew by 10,000%. By 2008, it had achieved an annual transaction volume of more than $650 billion and a profit double that of the global illegal drug trade. By 2015, its annual transaction volume reached $1.77 trillion. Commonly known as the “World’s Factory,” China is also the world’s largest manufacturer of fake products. Of all the counterfeit goods that United States customs seized in 2015, 52% came from mainland China and 35% from Hong Kong.

Ease of ocean transport explains why economically developed coastal cities are home to some of China’s largest fake goods markets. Fake goods don’t come from commercially underdeveloped regions, in part because they can manufacture only subpar consumer products. Those areas simply don’t have enough resources, manufacturing skills and logistical capabilities to play in this field.

Henan Province, which has gotten a bad rap...