INDIA/CHINA – Indian businesses are accusing China of counterfeiting popular local consumer products such as Dabur and ITC, affecting brand legitimacy and causing losses of as much as US$5 billion annually.
According to Dabur India - the fourth largest FMCG in India - the brand owner has been the victim of China’s infamous counterfeiting practices, with fake products manufactured in the Mainland – complete with ‘Made in India’ tags – supplied across the globe, mainly in India and African countries.
“A lot of counterfeit Dabur products are made in China,” sad Ashok Jain, Dabur India’s general manager of finance. “We have conducted at least 20 raids in China, but no proper action has been taken by the Chinese.
“It causes huge damage to the brand. Those fake products are obviously not up to our standards and supplied at very low prices.”
Dabur, which has nearly US$4 billion market capitalisation and earned US$910 million in revenue last fiscal year, operates in key consumer product categories like healthcare, skin care, hair care and oral care.
ITC, another major Indian conglomerate worth US$33 billion, says its popular FMCG brands have also been counterfeited in China and distributed domestically as well as overseas.
"Our popular cigarette brand is faked and supplied widely in the states like Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh," said ITC senior official Pradeep Dixit.
S.K. Goel, chairman of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, says the problem is serious.
"China is a big problem everybody is facing," Goel said, not just for Indian brands, but also major international brands such as Nokia, Adidas, Reebok and Nivea, which Chinese counterfeited knock-offs are supplied in India and other parts of the world.
Recently, New Delhi police seized and confiscated a large quantity of fake and counterfeited products of popular brands.
Delhi’s deputy commissioner of police K.K. Vyas has called for stricter punishment for counterfeiters: “Punishment needs to be enhanced. The judiciary needs to address these issues quickly.”
Anil Rajput, chairman of the anti-smuggling and anti-counterfeiting committee of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), agrees: "Counterfeiting is a big menace. It is hurting everybody - consumers, industry and the exchequer."
To tackle anti-smuggling and counterfeiting activities, the federation recently formed a panel called “FICCI-Cascade” Chaired by Rajput, the committee is working closely with the government to curb this problem.