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Japanese trained appraisers sift through China’s second-hand luxury goods market

Being the world’s largest market for luxury goods and their counterfeit products, the expert eye that distinguishes between fake Chanel handbags and genuine Chanel handbags is a skill that is in high demand throughout China.

Join the “Gorgeous Appraiser”. It is a distinguishing factor between fake and genuine eagle eyes and has been trained in dangerous serial numbers, stitches, logo triage handbags, belts and clothing.

According to market research firm UIBE Luxury China, factories in China mass-produce large quantities of luxury goods, most of which are for the domestic market of about 4 trillion yuan (67.6 trillion yen).

The second-hand luxury goods market is also booming today, and those who don’t want to give up thousands of dollars in their handbags are looking for fame at discounted prices.

But the vast shadow trade of counterfeit goods lies in waiting for those looking for bargains.

Many have been fooled by “good imitations that make little difference” to the original, said Chang Chen, founder of an extraordinary high-end business school that tools graduates with the talent to detect counterfeiters.

Zhang Chen, founder of Extraordinary Luxuries Business School, teaches classes at a school in Beijing on March 24th. AFP-JIJI

His 7-day course teaches students how to detect counterfeiting, how to evaluate second-hand goods, and the skills needed to evaluate luxury goods.

The fee is 15,800 yuan (267,000 yen), but Zhang says it’s a price worth paying as it provides a foothold in the second-hand luxury market that has just begun in China.

According to consultancy Forward Business Information, the market reached 17.3 billion yuan in 2020, almost double the previous year.

“Chinese people buy one-third of the world’s luxury goods, but the distribution rate is 3%, well below 25% to 30% in Western countries,” he said.

Trade tips

Zan delves into the rules of luxury for students who are obsessed with all his words.

“The lining of the black chanel handbag must be pink,” he says.

Trainees check the ID card of a French luxury fashion chain handbag under special UV light.

Zhang Chen, founder of Extraordinary Luxuries Business School, teaches classes at a school in Beijing on March 24th. AFP-JIJI
Zhang Chen, founder of Extraordinary Luxuries Business School, teaches classes at a school in Beijing on March 24th. AFP-JIJI

“Two letters shine. That’s the secret,” said Zhang, who learned his skills in evaluating luxury goods in Japan 10 years ago.

Knowing which characters in the Chanel logo use a rectangular font instead of a square font “can detect one-third of the fake on the market,” he added.

All his classes are wealthy, but he has a variety of backgrounds, including a former editor of a fashion magazine in Shanghai and a bartender who is about to make a fresh start after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have found that second-hand luxury bags can be sold at very affordable prices,” said Xu Zhihao, a 31-year-old stock market trader.

The Louis Vuitton Neverfull handbag purchased two years ago can be sold on a pre-owned platform for 9,000 yuan, a 20% discount, while the small Chanel Gabrielle bag sells for about 60% to 70% of the counter price.

“I think the logic behind sales is very similar to the financial products I currently sell,” says Zhihao.

However, the condition of the bag can have a significant impact on its value.

“Many people are getting nail polish these days, so pay special attention to the scratches around the buckle,” Zhang warns, identifying scratches from long nails.

Zhang Chen, founder of Extraordinary Luxuries Business School, teaches classes at a school in Beijing on March 24th. AFP-JIJI
Zhang Chen, founder of Extraordinary Luxuries Business School, teaches classes at a school in Beijing on March 24th. AFP-JIJI

And seasonality is essential, and red (the color of luck) sells fastest on Chinese holidays.

His school even attracted former counterfeiters as students, he added, many wanting to build on existing skills, but shifting to infamous jobs.

Keep it a reality

In most cases, Zhang takes about 10 seconds to determine if a product is genuine and he says he has a genuine Hermes bag.

Some clients send pictures of watches, trainers and clothes for online diagnostics.

Luxury verification is set to become more tech by the fashion house introducing chips to track pedigree. Louis Vuitton announced in 2019 that it will launch a blockchain platform called AURA to record its products.

A microchip was inserted into the sole of women’s shoes manufactured by the Italian brand Salvatore Ferragamo, and Burberry experimented with radio frequency identification technology (RFiD) on the product. This is a technique that uses radio waves to identify tagged objects.

But the technology is still in its infancy, so Zhang isn’t worried about the threat to his analog work.

“Any technology can crack,” he said.

“There is always a market for identifying luxury goods, it’s just that the method needs to be adapted.”

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https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/05/03/business/china-luxury-goods-zhang-chen/ Japanese trained appraisers sift through China’s second-hand luxury goods market

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