On Dec. 15, famous Chinese Internet celebrity and Smartisan founder Yonghao Luo admitted in his Sina Weibo post that the cardigans sold in his livestreaming channel were fake.
The counterfeit clothes were labeled as French brand Pierre Cardin. After receiving the packages, some customers filed complaints that the cardigans were not made of 100% wool, suspecting the goods bought from Luo’s channel were merely knockoffs.
Luo and his team took five cardigans from his stockpile and sent them to two professional institutions for testing. On the afternoon of Dec. 15, one of the test results stated that the products submitted for inspection were a non-wool material.
The livestreamer stated that the suppliers, Shanghai Weixun Technology Co., Ltd. and Tongxiang Tengyun E-commerce Co., Ltd., were suspected of forging documents as well as producing counterfeit and shoddy goods, potentially leading to fraud. He also claimed that his team would report the case to the public security bureau.
As for the sold goods, Luo sought to contact and make compensation of three times the original price to over 20,000 customers.
Prior to his apology, Hai Wang, a professional anti-counterfeiting Internet personality, started an online debate with Luo, pointing out that the DentylActive mouthwash sold in Luo’s livestreaming sales was suspected of false promotion as well as asking Luo to refund customers. Luo responded at the time that the video related to the accusation was maliciously edited and the content was not from his channel.
However, Luo is not the first livesteamer to step into the counterfeit swamp in recent months.
Xin Ba, a top seller on Kuaishou, landed in controversy for selling fake edible bird’s nest soup. The quality of the pricy product was questioned in a disclosed report, stating that it was merely a flavored beverage. In terms of ingredients, sucrose accounts for 4.8% in the soup and carbohydrates at 5%, with zero protein.
Even though Xin Ba apologized to the public and made compensation of 61.98 million yuan, there still remains a possibility that the sales king will face lawsuits, if not years in prison, according to the criminal law of the P.R.C.
In 2019, livestreamer Austin Li was accused of falsely promoting hairy crabs from Yangcheng Lake. Li later apologized for the misleading content he made during his livestream.
In November, the State Administration for Market Regulation issued a notice to regulate livestreaming e-commerce promotion practices. But as a rising industry in China, the boundary of product promotion in this landscape is still blurry.