What Is A High-Copy Product?

High copy products are something you will come across in many countries mainly in the continents of Asia and Africa. They are known as counterfeit products and sold to locals and tourists in that country. The most popular Asian countries to sell high copies are Thailand, Nepal, India, China and Vietnam.

Scmp reported that in 2013, OECD estimated counterfeit products contributed to 2.5 per cent i.e $461 billion of the world’s trade. Likewise, CNBC mentioned the CEO of Adidas stated 10% of the current Adidas brands in Asia were most likely fake.

If that was back then, I wonder how much the black market makes now? It’s a massive business on the rise…

Legally, sellers can’t always advertise them as fakes however many people know they are. Some tourists purchase knowing it trying to get cheap products identical to the genuine ones they find back home. Likewise, some sellers try to expose tourists pretending their products are the real deal trying to secure a bigger profit.

You’re probably assuming that it’s easy to spot a bunch of fakes against real products…

As you can tell by a sellers mannerisms, shop stalls and quality of products/packaging. Even I thought so until I was conned out of a high copy pair of Raybans.

My Experience with High Copy Products

During 2018 I was in Kathmandu, Nepal. I was shopping at Labim Mall in Patan. From my perspective, Labim Mall is a high-end shopping mall with brands such as the likes of Clarks, KFC, Polo, Espirit, Dorothy Perkins and United Colours of Benetton.  After breaking my former sunglasses I went shopping for a new pair of ray bans.

Compared to other shopping malls I found Labim Mall to be like a smaller scale shopping centre similar to the ones back in the U.K. I thought because it had trusted brands I’d be able to find an authentic pair of sunglasses.

Oh how I was wrong.

I entered the store which seemed like a normal sunglasses shop similar to ones in the U.K. Impressed, I’d noticed different sunglasses protected on shelves enclosed in a glass case. Also, cardboard cutouts advertising models wearing a specific brand. Brands were featured from the likes of Dior, Tom Ford,Ray Ban, Gucci and Jimmy Choo.

After a good 10 minutes of browsing, I opted for a pair of Ray Bans. I asked the shopkeeper how much for the sunglasses. She seemed hesitant and then quoted me 14000 NPR which was the equivalent to roughly $140.00. Being from the U.K and knowing the tax rate I knew at the time I’d secured a good deal.

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Ray Bans
Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

Naively, I thought “what a bargain!”. When handing over the cash the woman behind the counter struggled to find a case for the sunglasses. In fact, looking back normally they have spare sunglasses to the ones advertised on display. She couldn’t find one nor an appropriate ray ban case.

After ten minutes she found a brown case which said Ray Ban, luxotica goods imprinted on the case. It did not look like the authentic black case I’d was used to receiving when purchasing my previous Ray Bans in duty-free airport shops. Anyways I proceeded. Excited to try on again at home, I opened the case and discovered there was no certificate of authenticity.

After two weeks of wearing, the lenses started to scratch very easily. Likewise, the silver lenses started to break off. I was not impressed. At the time I didn’t know about the phrase ‘high copy’. It wasn’t until a friend later on in the year that she bought high copy Gucci sunglasses from the mall.

It then hit me, that I’d been conned. Either that or I was too naive to know about or receive duplicates. I really thought a high-end mall with water fountains, famous franchises and fast food outlets would sell genuine products.

I thought I’d fooled the seller getting a bargain when the seller was the one who fooled me.

That was then when most friends informed me apart from direct franchise stores nowhere in Nepal sells authentic goods. Especially Ray-Bans. With this in mind, I now know how to bargain and get better rates for a high copy product. With these tips you can avoid it too:

Cautions to take to avoid paying too much for a high copy product

Do you research about the country you are in

Whilst you are travelling, keep in mind the country and continent you’re in. Is it an Asian or an African country. Is it developed or developing? What is the country’s wealth like? If not that great financially you may want to question their black market. Investigate about the black market of the country your in. Visit the specific brands’ website you want to buy from, is there authorised outlets posted in the country of your choice? If not think again.

Question the seller about the product

If you know about the brand beforehand. Ask questions i.e

Where does it come from? What range is it? Where is the certificate of authenticity?

If a seller is selling a genuine product they will be trained by the company about their products to provide the ultimate customer service. So they can maintain the brand’s reputation. If the seller is hesitant with your questioning or his/her answers are simply not good enough. You might want to reconsider your purchase.

You must pay careful attention when travelling abroad as some people are trying to make a living and may try to brush up on their selling skills. In order to maximise and secure the highest profit. It would help if you do your research prior to your trip.

I used to rely on the location of the shop to decide if a product was genuine or not. Now I rule out setting completely. I question the type of country and also question the seller about the product. Also, view the countries history with the black market and assess the seller’s body language. You must use your instincts before pushing through with your purchase.


Extracts of Alex

Navigating Nepal and the World

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