Shops stock up on Chinese products | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.

Shops stock up on Chinese products  Jeddah: Ibrahim Naffee

watches Published — Saturday 28 June 2014

casio watches Last update 28 June 2014 2:08 am

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Imitation Chinese products continue to circulate widely in the Saudi market, especially in downtown Jeddah, attracting low income customers despite an agreement between the Kingdom and China banning the import of such goods. Shops, nevertheless, are stocking up on fake products ahead of Ramadan. Many customers wonder why Chinese clothes, shoes and other consumer goods continue to sell better than products made in other countries. Chinese products account for a staggering 85 percent of goods on sale in the Saudi market, while substandard items represent 35 percent of products on sale, Aiman Kashif, CEO of Al-Remal, a company selling clothing items, told Arab News. The Consumer Protection Association (CPA) has organized several awareness campaigns against the risks associated with these products. Naser Al-Towaim, CPA director, told Arab News: “The association confirmed that fake products can cause severe health damage thanks to their poor quality. Many traders, nevertheless, remain solely interested in making profits regardless of the risks.” Many consumers fall victim to these scams, paying a lot of money for a product supposedly made in Europe or America, which, in fact, is made in China. Many wonder if this is commercial fraud, while others are not alarmed by the phenomenon, saying several internationally renowned labels have their companies based there. “Many American and European companies open factories in developing countries such as China, Indonesia and other Asian countries, where they can employ cheap labor,” Hisham Al-Mutlaq, a Saudi investor, said. “In addition, Western companies face challenges such as reducing industrial pollution and adhering to environmental standards back home.” These companies are responsible for exporting raw material to their factories in China and that is why some of these products turn out to be high quality and meet international standards, he said. Al-Mutlaq did not deny the existence of Arab brokers in China. “These businessmen play a big role in facilitating the import of counterfeit products at lower prices into the Kingdom and selling them as global products,” he said. “Many Saudi traders import their goods from China at cheap prices and sell them in the Kingdom at high prices,” said Mohammad Saeed, a dealer in clothes. “Sixty percent of goods are made in China, while 80 percent of the goods made in China are in the clothing sector,” he said. “While ‘made in China’ products don’t worry me as much, fake electronic items supposedly made in Japan do fall within the scope of commercial fraud,” said Zuhair Al-Sheikh, a Saudi employee in the private sector. Several vendors in the country have become specialized in selling counterfeit products. They sell imitation watches, or instance, marked with Swiss brands. These vendors know their business will continue to flourish, because many who cannot afford to buy the real thing still want a replica. “This is why we are still in business,” said one Yemeni vendor in downtown Jeddah.

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