Police in Anhui have seized thousands of pairs of fake shoes in the biggest case of sports shoe counterfeiting in the country, state media have reported.

In December, police seized around 500,000 pairs of fake Nike, Vans, and Converse shoes from a factory in Bengbu, a city in the eastern province of Anhui. News of the bust emerged on Thursday. Police made 11 arrests but the factory’s chief, surnamed Dai, has gone into hiding, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Photo: Screenshot/CCTV.

According to local paper Xin’an Evening News, a representative from Nike Sport China approached Anhui police in December 2015, saying that the company found a large amount of counterfeit shoes using their brand in the middle east.

They were very close to the real thing, making it hard for consumers to tell the difference, the representative reported. Labels on the shoes said they were made in places such as Vietnam and Malaysia.

Investigations led police to the Jinfeng factory, which is under a corporation called Feiyu. The corporation operates two other factories, which make legitimate products. The factory making counterfeit shoes was hidden inside the others, CCTV said.

Photo: Screenshot/CCTV.

The factory operated on a large scale – at the height of production, there were around 1,000 staff members, one suspect said.

The facility produced a pair of shoes at the low cost of 12-13 RMB (around HK$14), then sold them for 16-17 RMB (around HK$18).

According to police, since the factory was established in 2012, it supplied shoes to many provinces and cities in China, and its products “nearly cornered the counterfeit markets in places such as the middle east and Africa. The factory has sold about six billion RMB (HK$6.8 billion) worth of counterfeit shoes.


Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.