Police have shut down a huge China counterfeiting ring estimated to have raked in some US$15 million.
Chinese police have arrested 32 people believed to be part of the operation, which focused on counterfeiting luxury-branded goods.
The Shanghai raid led to the seizure of more than 4000 items of luxury apparel and accessories bearing Louis Vuitton, Kenzo and Loewe labels, among other top brands. Two assembly lines producing the counterfeit items were shut down.
The raid was in response to a tip-off to the Shanghai Qingpu district public security bureau that fake Louis Vuitton bags were selling on Chinese social media platform, WeChat.
Estimates held that the ring had sold more than 100,000 fake luxury items at a value of around RMB100 million (US$14.9 million). Each item would have cost around RMB200 ($30) to produce.
The rise of online markets all over the world has been blamed for a general increase in fake products sold globally. The counterfeit industry is now worth an estimated $590 billion a year, and accounts for around 3.3 per cent of total international trade.
According to customs officials, the most frequently seized fakes are items of footwear, clothing, leather goods and IT equipment. China is by far the world’s largest source of pirated goods.