LG combats counterfeiting in the Middle East
Global and regional digital leader, LG Electronics, has introduced an anti-counterfeiting programme to beat perpetrators of product fraud in the air conditioning business.
Counterfeit LG air conditioners have recently started appearing in a number of markets in the Middle East and Africa region, including Iraq and the UAE, prompting the company to step up its copyright protection drive to protect its customers. Within the framework of this programme, LG is prepared to request a ban on imports and customs clearance of counterfeit LG products and has set up special anti-counterfeiting reporting processes with its dedicated in-house business personnel and legal team in Korea and abroad. LG officials are training distributors to differentiate authentic from counterfeit products and warning them of the legal complications that they may face for illegally trading in counterfeit goods.
“Counterfeiting and product fraud affects our entire industry and we are concerned about the danger this poses to our consumers. As the producer of the world’s best selling air conditioners, I believe LG has a responsibility to lead the fight against product fraud and pursue appropriate legal measures to prevent counterfeit air conditioners from coming to the market. We are stepping up efforts to track down importers, distributors, and manufacturers of counterfeit products,” said K H Kim, President, LG Electronics Middle East and Africa Operations.
Product safety has always been a primary concern at LG and to further minimise damage, the company is launching a media and advertising campaign to help consumers identify counterfeit products and to educate the shopping public about the significance of the invoice and warranty certificates. The company is also tracking down importers, distributors, and manufacturers of counterfeit products.
The counterfeit LG air conditioners being distributed illegally in the Middle East feature a crudely manufactured sticker of the LG logo on its packaging. Many of the counterfeit products also bear stickers listing two different countries of origin (both Korea and China) and differing ranges of operational capacity. Fakes can easily be identified by closer inspection of the packaging and the logo on the units.
“For the time being, we recommend our consumers verify the authenticity of our products by examining the LG logo, country of origin and operational capacity. We are thoroughly investigating the distribution networks of counterfeit products and taking prompt action to prevent unauthorized sales. We are taking all necessary measures to ensure that customers can purchase LG air conditioners safely,” added Kim.
LG is working with local law enforcement authorities to explore ways in which they can cooperate to tackle sales and production of counterfeits electronic brands. According to leading Japanese market research consultancy Fuji-Keizai, LG sold more than ten million units in 2004 worldwide with 20 percent market share. Fuji-Keizai estimates the global air conditioner market to be worth US $ 52 million. LG aims to manufacture more than 12 million units in 2005.
The market value of the comfort and process-cooling sector in the GCC is estimated to exceed US$ 1.2 billion per annum in products and parts, and possibly double that in terms of associated products and services. LG has maintained its market leading position in more than 40 countries including important markets like USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
“LG has launched this campaign primarily to protect consumers from deceptive products being sold under our brand name. An assurance on quality control is part of LG’s commitment to our customers,” said Kyung-Sok Hwang, Vice President of Air Conditioner Overseas Sales for LG Electronics.