DALIAN, China — The Chinese market for counterfeits is petering out as consumers grow more choosy about quality and brand-names, a top Alibaba executive said Wednesday.
Gao Hongbing, an Alibaba Group vice president and director of research arm AliResearch, offered some predictions on the fate of counterfeits in response to a question from CNBC at the World Economic Forum's "Summer Davos" meeting in Dalian, China. Knock-offs have long been a staple of China's consumer economy, and Alibaba has been repeatedly called out for what critics characterized as lax enforcement against such items.
Still, he said, today's consumers in China have become increasingly "aware" of quality consumption — meaning that they are preferring to spend their money on genuine articles.
"I think they've lost interest," Gao said of the mainstream Chinese consumer's attraction to knock-offs. "Therefore they like more high-quality and genuine products."
The Alibaba executive added that young consumers are even more attuned to products' quality and branding. Therefore, he predicted, China's "quality consumption" will eventually be elevated to the top spot globally.