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Trick or Treat? An Examination of Marketing Relationships in a Non-deceptive Counterfeit Market


  • Sarah Xiao

    () (Durham Business School)


Counterfeit goods consumption has predominantly been viewed as an economic, cultural, ethical/moral, legal and/or information-management issue. Strategies based on these perspectives have taken steps to curb counterfeiting (or "piracy") worldwide. However, counterfeit purchasing continues to be increasingly rampant in some territories and at times is almost regarded as a "normal" act of consumption. This paper presents an exploratory behavioural analysis of counterfeit marketing firms in China, and the interdependent relationships between the legitimate marketing firms, counterfeit retailers and buyers who populate the competitive marketplaces within which consumers consume. The results indicate that counterfeit marketing firms, as "bad competitors", approach marketing mix variables to promote their unique selling proposition and compete with other retailers much like any other form of organisation. At the same time, these counterfeit marketing firms act as though consumer behaviour were also environmentally controlled, just like their genuine counter- parts. The study also reveals a complex bilateral contingency network of interdependent relationships operating within the counterfeiting marketplace – networks that appear amenable to explanation in operant terms. A generic model deduced from this complex bilateral contingency networks was also proposed. Based on this perspective, the author argued that counterfeit consumption is an artifact phenomenon of marketing relationships in a non-deceptive counterfeit market.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Xiao, 2007. "Trick or Treat? An Examination of Marketing Relationships in a Non-deceptive Counterfeit Market," Working Papers 2007_04, Durham University Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:dur:durham:2007_04

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chow, Daniel C. K., 2003. "Organized crime, local protectionism, and the trade in counterfeit goods in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 473-484.
    2. Foxall, Gordon R., 1999. "The marketing firm," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 207-234, April.
    3. Jen-Te Yao, 2005. "Counterfeiting and an Optimal Monitoring Policy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 95-114, January.
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