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Old 20th October 2009, 08:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Jakarta's fake haven

Jakarta's fake haven

By Anissa S. Febrina
The Jakarta Post/ Asia News Network
Mon, Oct 19 2009


The hope of seeing Indonesia free of counterfeit products seems to be wishful thinking.


[Photo above: Counterfeit Gucci bag.]

Want to measure how rampant the distribution and consumption of knockoffs are in the city? Forget complicated research. Just take a busway trip to the city's haven for counterfeit branded goods.

Chances are - and a big fat chance, that is - that during the trip itself you will bump into too many fake Pradas, Louis Vuittons and Chanels to count.

There they are - the meticulously woven leather of "Botega Venettas", the minimalist design of "Miu-Mius" and the trademark checkered pattern of "Burberries".

"I know it's fake, but I like the design," says Dreandra Tampubolon, a third-year college student sporting a brown "Miu-Miu" bag, one that she bought for a hundredth of what the real thing retails for.

Andra, as she calls herself, is on a search for a new bag as she takes the bus to a trade center in the Mangga Dua area, a knockoff Botega Venetta this time. As soon as she enters the shopping center, the budget-bag hunter is suddenly overwhelmed.

Stepping into the trade center, any bag lover would go crazy at the wide variety of "branded" items on offer.

Just a couple of steps into the building, vendors start accosting prospective customers in the corridor with their latest wares. Step further into the shops and you can find more cheap knockoffs to splurge on.

Cheap? Well, relatively cheap, you might say, as a fake bag or shoes will still cost between Rp 200,000 (S$29) and Rp 3 million (S$447), depending on the quality.

"Here, let me show you a certified super quality LV," says one shopkeeper. "Feel the leather, it's different. It's genuine leather."

The leather may be genuine, but the LV logo is still a fake. Offered at a tenth of the price of the original, that should be obvious.

"This is imported from Korea, the best of its kind," the woman says, explaining the "super quality" tag. "See the stitches, it's very neat."

"What about that one?" asks a customer.

"Aw, that's KW 2. I'll give it to you for Rp 100,000," the shopkeeper shoots back.

Despite all these items being supposedly illegal counterfeit goods, the wallets, bags, sandals and shoes sold here have their own classes, three at least.

The best is known as super quality, a type that vendors claim to import from South Korea, while in fact that country has never been the production center for any of the brands printed on the bags.

Something of a slightly lower quality and a much lower price is known as KW 1, or first-grade goods. These also come from Korea, vendors claim, but the leather is synthetic and the stitching is not as good.

Goods from China occupy the bottom of the scale with the KW 2 label, or second-grade goods.

And the social hierarchy is also reflected in where the goods are sold. Goods sold in the corridors are mostly second-grade, or even lower than that, while those offered at the shops inside are more a mix of all three, usually with a special corner dedicated to super-quality ones.

Since the trade center opened more than a decade ago, businesses relying on the brand-minded tendency of certain customers have thrived. Most bag shops claim daily revenue of at least Rp 15 million.

"The bag shop downstairs is more crowded. Here, even on weekends, we only sell 10 pairs," says Teguh, who runs a men shoe shop on the quieter second floor.

"Here it's more the bapak pejabat *high-ranking officials* type of customer. Occasionally we get vendors buying wholesale for their own shops elsewhere."

Despite a rise in the direct distribution of counterfeit branded goods, Mangga Dua remains the hub from which further distribution is done. In Jakarta, the goods go to shops and stalls in other trade centers.

Leather goods are only part of the wide variety of knockoffs, which also include watches, perfumes and clothes in the illegal but obviously growing business.

The hypothesis is that a growing middle class is becoming more brand-conscious, but has yet to attain the financial capacity. They want the prestige thought to come with the label on their belongings, but the real thing is simply far out of reach.

But customers like Andra have a different reason.

"For me, it's always the design that counts, not the brand," she says, pointing out she would never wear a "Louis Vuitton" despite it being deemed more prestigious here than a "Hermes".

"The problem is that local products rarely offer good designs. Most of the time they're too kitschy or look cheap."

Both the design and the brand image are what the producers of the original branded goods are trying to protect. Doing that here might be more challenging than it sounds.

"It's not so much the financial losses we suffer; it's more intangible as counterfeited products harm the image and exclusiveness of our brand," says Ibrahim Senen, the legal representative for Louis Vuitton in Indonesia.

On paper, counterfeiting is simply illegal, no two ways about it. But in reality, it's not that simple since there are always arguments that cracking down on the fake-good business will hurt the local economy.

In 2005, a study by the University of Indonesia's School of Economics revealed sales of counterfeit local leather goods alone caused estimated losses of Rp 66 billion annually, with an additional Rp 25 billion from lost tax revenue. On the other hand, the activity provides jobs for more than 4,000 workers.

Meanwhile, counterfeiting of imported goods is estimated to cause Rp 11 billion in losses a year and Rp 3.1 billion in tax.

Worldwide, the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group (GACG) estimates that in Europe as a whole, 11 percent of the clothes and leather goods in circulation are not genuine. The GACG survey revealed counterfeiting costs European business in general around 50 billion euros a year.

"The problem with enforcing the law on trademark violations is that it should be based on reports from the brand owner," says Indonesia Anti-Counterfeiting Society secretary-general Justisiari Perdana Kusumah.

"So if the brand owner doesn't complain, the government won't do anything against the counterfeiters or vendors."

Both Justisiari and Ibrahim have served as legal representatives for foreign high-end brands since 1994, but say no apparent change has been seen in the effort to crack down on counterfeiting.

"The best we could hope for is to keep educating the consumers and continue our legal efforts against counterfeiters and vendors," Justisiari says.

"To hope to see Indonesia free of counterfeit products seems to be wishful thinking."

Source: http://www.relax.com.sg/relax/news/2...ake_haven.html

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Old 20th October 2009, 10:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Jakarta's fake haven

No need go BKK next time, can do Indonesia liao

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Old 20th October 2009, 11:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Jakarta's fake haven

anyway, i won't think of buying counterfeit goods there. quality should be quite bad

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Old 20th October 2009, 11:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Jakarta's fake haven

I wouldn't want to be caught using fakes. Looks bad on me.

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Old 20th October 2009, 11:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Jakarta's fake haven

hard to tell between a counterfeit and a original unless you are a pro

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Old 18th April 2011, 02:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Jakarta's fake haven

Indonesia have very good quality of Counterfeit.
Try asking for KW1. They use the same material to make the original, so the price is quite high.

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