China’s Rich Paying Big Money on Learning How to Recognize Fake Luxury Goods

With counterfeit luxury goods getting harder and harder to spot, China’s rich are paying thousands of dollars for  specialized courses on how to tell apart authentic luxury products from fakes.

China’s domestic luxury market is currently valued at approximately 4 trillion yuan ($617.7 billion) and that’s not even taking into account the second-hand luxury goods trade, but this boom has also given rise to sophisticated counterfeiting. Stories of bargain hunters being conned into parting with their money in exchange for hard-to-spot fake luxury products are very common on Chinese social media, so much so that there are now companies offering specialized courses on how to tell authentic luxury goods like Louis Vuitton or Chanel bags from counterfeit ones.

Photo: Laura Chouette/Unsplash

The Extraordinary Luxuries Business School in Beijing charges people 15,800 yuan ($2,400) for a 7-day course on how to tell authentic luxury products from really well-done fakes. Founder Zhang Chen teaches students little-known ways of checking certain big brand products, like which characters on a Chanel ID card should light up under UV light, or which letters in the Chanel logo use a rectangular rather than square font.

Zhang claims that the price he asks for his courses is worth paying, as it gives students a leg up in the booming second-hand luxury good trade. His clients are all affluent people, but they come from all walks of life, from fashion magazine editors, to former counterfeiters looking to build on their skills and looking for a less shady line of work.


But Zhang’s Extraordinary Luxuries Business School is only the latest institution to offer this sort of service. Back in 2018, Sixth Tone published a piece on similar classes offered by the Luxury Appraisal Center

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