Bangkok 2nd best place globally to shop & more Bangkok shopping centers enter USA’s notorious list

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Bangkok has been rated the world’s second best city for tourist shopping and the third best city in terms of value for money, according to a global survey of 75,000 travelers covering 40 cities by the TripAdvisor travel site.

  • Travel Daily News reports:

Bangkok rated best in two very important categories of the visitor experience, shopping and value for money. Said Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, “This is a very important result for us because it underscores the success of our marketing campaign. We have always sought to position Thailand as a shopping paradise, thanks to our value for money factor and extensive diversity of products and services.”

  • Travel Daily News, also reports:

Thailand recorded a 31% increase in tourism receipts in 2011 over 2010, according to Ministry of Tourism and Sports figures. The total earnings of 776 billion baht (US$25.45 billion) were also well above the original target of 716 billion baht (US$23 billion). Visitor spending per capita per day in 2011 averaged 4,187 baht, of which 24% (1,001 baht) was spent on shopping, the second highest expenditure item after accommodation.

The growth in total number of visitors, projected at 20.5 million in 2012 and 22.45 million in 2013, is being matched by increased average length of stay and average daily expenditure, further underscoring the role of tourism as one of the most important economic sectors and contributor to job creation and nationwide income distribution.

Overall, the expenditure figures show that the recent strengthening of the baht against the US$ is having little impact and Thailand remains good value for money for visitors across the board. The availability of a broad range of products from the latest designer goods to traditional Thai arts and crafts is further enhanced by the VAT refund scheme.

Counterfeit is not just a problem in Thailand, globally, counterfeit is a big business. Wikipedia says, in November 2009, the OECD updated these estimates, concluding that the share of counterfeit and pirated goods in world trade had increased from 1.85% in 2000 to 1.95% in 2007. That represents an increase to US$250 billion worldwide. Wikipedia also says, currently, when calculating counterfeit products, current estimates place the global losses at $400 billion

In USTR review of Notorious Markets issued on Dec 13; Chatuchak, MBK Shopping Centre, Siam Square, Klong Thom, Sukhumvit Road and Patpong Market in Bangkok, Karon Beach and Patong in Phuket,  ITCity in Pattaya, and the Rong Kluea and Friendship markets at the Aranyaprathet border crossing with Cambodia.

While Thai authorities have designated Panthip Plaza, Klong Thom, Saphan Lek and Baan Mor shopping areas as targets for enforcement of laws against product piracy and counterfeiting, other shopping centers remain free to operate, with a “Business As Usual” attitude.

Thailand’s Intellectual Property Department’s statistics show that raids on intellectual property rights pirates in the first nine months of this year resulted in 8,416 cases, with 6.2 million items seized. For example, this week, 30,000 items of falsely branded cosmetics worth an estimated 30 million baht had been seized in Pathum Thani province by the Department of Special Investigation.

USTR says the “Notorious” markets have been selected for inclusion both because they exemplify wider concerns about global trademark counterfeiting and/or copyright piracy, and because their scale and popularity can cause economic harm to the US and other intellectual property rights holders, the report says. The notorious markets list does not purport to reflect findings of legal violations, nor does it reflect the US governments analysis of the general climate of intellectual property right protection and enforcement of in the countries concerned, however, the report says.

The spread of counterfeit goods (commonly called “knockoffs”) has become global in recent years and the range of goods subject to infringement has increased significantly. Apparel and accessories accounted for over 50 percent of the counterfeit goods seized by U.S Customs and Border Control. According to the study of Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), counterfeit goods make up 5 to 7% of World Trade, however these figures cannot be substantiated due to the secretive nature of the industry.[1] A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development indicates that up to US$200 Billion of international trade could have been in counterfeit and illegally-copied goods in 2005.[2] In November 2009, the OECD updated these estimates, concluding that the share of counterfeit and pirated goods in world trade had increased from 1.85% in 2000 to 1.95% in 2007. That represents an increase to US$250 billion worldwide.[3]

In a detailed breakdown of the counterfeit goods industry, the total loss faced by countries around the world is $600 billion, with the United States facing the most economic impact.[4] When calculating counterfeit products, current estimates place the global losses at $400 billion.[5] On November 29, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security seized and shut down 82 websites as part of a U.S. crackdown of websites that sell counterfeit goods, and was timed to coincide with “Cyber Monday,” the start of the holiday online shopping season.[6]

Some see the rise in counterfeiting of goods as being related to globalization. As more and more companies, in an effort to increase profits, move manufacturing to the cheaper labour markets of the third world, areas with weaker labour laws or environmental regulations, they give the means of production to foreign workers. These new managers of production have little or no loyalty to the original corporation. They see that profits are being made by the global brand for doing little (other than advertising) and see the possibilities of removing the middle men (i.e. the parent corporation) and marketing directly to the consumer.

Certain consumer goods, especially very expensive or desirable brands or those that are easy to reproduce cheaply, have become frequent and common targets of counterfeiting. The counterfeiters either attempt to deceive the consumer into thinking they are purchasing a legitimate item, or convince the consumer that they could deceive others with the imitation. An item which makes no attempt to deceive, such as a copy of a DVD with missing or different cover art, is often called a “bootleg” or a “pirated copy” instead.

Most counterfeit goods are produced and manufactured in China, making it the counterfeit capital of the world. In fact, the counterfeiting industry accounts for 8% of China’s GDP.[7][8] Joining China are North Korea and Taiwan. Some counterfeits are produced in the same factory that produces the original, authentic product, using inferior materials. Another strange new trend in counterfeiting, especially seen in consumer electronics, is the manufacture of entirely novel products using poor quality materials or, more often, incorporating desirable features not present in a brand’s authentic product line and then including prominent and fake brand names and logotypes to profit from brand recognition or brand image. An example would be imitation “Nokia” cellular phones with features like Dual-SIM slots or TV, which are unavailable in authentic originals. Another example would be imitation “iPod” MP3 players whose power cells or batteries are removable and replaceable, whereas in authentic originals the power cells or batteries are permanently installed.

In the United States, a federal crackdown on counterfeit imports is driving an increase in domestic output of fake merchandise, according to investigators and industry executives. Raids carried out in New York City resulted in the seizure of an estimated $200 Million in counterfeit apparel, bearing the logos of brands such as “The North Face,” “Polo,” “Izod Lacoste,” “Rocawear,” “Seven for all Mankind,” and “Fubu.” One of the largest seizures was a joint operation in Arizona, Texas and California that seized seventy-seven containers of fake “Nike Air Jordan” shoes and a container of “Abercrombie & Fitch” clothing, valued at $69.5 million. Another current method of attacking counterfeits is at the retail level. Fendi sued the Sam’s Club division of Walmart for selling fake “Fendi” bags and leather goods in five states. Sam’s Club agreed to pay Fendi a confidential amount to settle the dispute and dismiss the action. In the case Tiffany v. eBayTiffany & Co. sued auction site eBay for allowing the sale of counterfeit items. Gucci filed suit against thirty websites in the United States and is currently[when?] in the process of suing one hundred more.[citation needed]

A number of companies involved in the development of anti-counterfeiting and brand protection solutions have come together to form special industry-wide and global organisations dedicated to combating the so-called “brand pirates”. These are the International Authentication Association[9] and the International Hologram Manufacturers Association. Other companies and organizations have established web-based communities that provide a framework for crowd-sourced solutions to counterfeiting. One such free community, Collectors Proof[10] enables manufacturers and users alike to associate unique identification numbers to virtually any item so that each new owner can update its chain of custody. Because quality counterfeit items are often difficult to discern from authentic goods, this approach enables potential customers to access an item’s current and previous owners – its provenance – prior to purchase.

To try to avoid this, companies may have the various parts of an item manufactured in independent factories and then limit the supply of certain distinguishing parts to the factory that performs the final assembly to the exact number required for the number of items to be assembled (or as near to that number as is practicable) and/or may require the factory to account for every part used and to return any unused, faulty or damaged parts. To help distinguish the originals from the counterfeits, the copyright holder may also employ the use of serial numbers and/or holograms etc., which may be attached to the product in another factory still.

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