Known as “Factory of the World”, China never runs shortage of consumer goods, among which a large part are counterfeits. If you are looking to snap up some fake products at a small fraction of what the original counterparts cost, then you can’t pass up on Baiyun World Leather Center in Guangzhou, a huge fake market for shopaholics who aren’t too fussed about authenticity.
Baiyun World Leather Center is within a stone’s throw from Sanyuanli metro station. From the first glance, you would be perplexed at the rumors that the crackdown on copy markets is simply exaggerated. Upon entering the main gate, you’ll immediately be bombarded with vendors selling fake products and those “self appointed guides” who pounce on you touting counterfeits.
Once inside, it’s a warren of stores selling a variety of fake products ranging from handbags, wallets, belts, clothes, shoes, hats, glasses, jewelry, etc. Basically you can find fake counterparts of any brands either in the shops or hidden in secret rooms away from the cops.
Haggling is the name of the game. Don’t feel bad for pushing back a low price because it’s the nature of most people selling replica goods in China trying to rip customers off as much as possible. For example, for a fake Gucci handbag that was quoted at 1300 RMB at first and was said to be made from 1:1 grade with imported Italian leather might settle down at 300 RMB. If they say no, use the walk away strategy to see if they would call you back. Even not, there is no need to worry as you walk around you’ll find more and more shops repeating themselves with similar products. Chances are, the shop in the opposite is selling exactly the same item at a much favorable price.
To the greatest of my surprise, ultimately any brand is available. And even in a small shop I found a logo printing machine with moulds of Gucci, LV, Prada, AF…you can choose your brand and it would be done in 2 minutes. To contribute to its authenticity, fake fapiao(invoices) from the original shops in Hongkong and POS receipts were also provided.
A rule of thumb for buying in Baiyun World Leather Center is that you’ll get your goods at about 18:00-19:00pm the same day or you can get tomorrow. It’s suggested to leave for the next day pick up as sometimes you might end up waiting till 20:00-21:00pm to get your goods. Most suppliers would expect you to pay in full when you are placing the order. Don’t do that unless your order is less than 300 RMB. Once it exceeds, just pay a small upfront deposit, and pay the rest after checking all the items as sellers may try to sneak some defected items in between or there might be problems with sizes/colors.
What we suggest not to do
- Don’t follow the self-appointed guides to buy copy goods in secret offices.
- Don’t stay in the markets till 6 or 7 unless you want to get stuck in the horrendous traffic jam.
- Above all, don’t buy replicas.
Note: Business in Guangzhou does not involve in any transaction of copied goods, neither does BIG advocate any counterfeiting business. This post does provide information about the city-Guangzhou, where I call home. However, I strongly believe supporting businesses selling replica goods does encourage the culture of counterfeiting while killing creativity, which China has received lots of public international condemn, to a great extent, the kind of counterfeiting has brought us great shame in an international stage.