Fake items difficult to distinguish
According to recent surveys by the Vietnamese High Quality Goods Enterprise Association, more than 60% of products purchased in local markets are counterfeit.
According to Mrs. Tam, owner of a cosmetic shop at Hoa Hung market, in HCM City, she has received a large number of sales pitches from dealers in such products.
“Fake products are very hard to discern from the real thing. The producers put a lot of care into the packaging so that they look similar, but the prices are only one third of the real thing. Many vendors are tempted to take the offers, but there are repercussions. Customers, once they find out they have bought a fake product, will tell their friends to stay away from your shop."
Another shop owner at Hoang Hoa Tham Market in HCM City, Mrs. Minh, also admitted that fake products are almost indiscernible to real ones.
It is not difficult to find popular counterfeit products, such as Vy Hao detergent (a counterfeit of My Hao), Vi Mo washing powder (O Mo), or Todacao Cosmetic (Thorakao). There is virtually no product that has escaped this phenomenon.
Aihao cosmetics claims to have lost 70% of its profits due to counterfeit products.
According to Nguyen Hu Phuoc, Director of Thanh Nga Product Trading Company, which owns the Aihao brand, the company has tried to prevent the activity by informing police and other legal measures, but they have been ineffective.
By now the fake Aihao products are only making up 1% on the market. The reason is not that the company has found out an effective way to fight them but Aihao has lost its brand image and is no longer popular.
Phuoc said that counterfeit products come mainly from small operations that are unlicensed. But, he added, there are also a few registered companies producing counterfeit goods, taking advantage at times when actual name brand manufacturers are not selling.
A representative from Ho Chi Minh City Market Management Branch said that the agency seized hundreds of thousands of faked items in 2011.
According to Nguyen Viet Hong, General Director of Vina CHG Corporation, a company specialising in providing anti-counterfeit consultation, in the last year they received 20 requests for phony stamps for name brand products.
“Many local businesses claim that even they are unable to tell fake products from real ones, as counterfeiters have become more sophisticated. Even the stamps are more well-done,” he said.