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Starbucks confirms 'VIA coffee' in supermarkets unauthorized
Published on: 2019-03-20
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052The package of the fake "Starbucks VIA" instant coffee (right) features a glass.

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Starbucks has found that too many copycats are piggybacking on its success in China. In fact, the counterfeiters have become so brazen that they are now setting up separate retail channels in supermarkets.

051The largest foreign coffee chain in China, Starbucks has admitted that it cannot determine the source of an instant brand that has suddenly appeared at shops in Beijing and Nanjing under the label “Starbucks VIA Coffee” and manufactured by Guangzhou Baiyi.

054Starbucks gets its imported products solely from a wholly-owned subsidiary in Shanghai and has said it did not authorize distribution through Baiyi, a company set up in April last year. To make things worse, Baiyi has started to market its Starbucks version through supermarkets; the real product is only sold online through TMall, a venture run by Alibaba Group.

053Baiyi coffee has a similar packaging style, carries the Starbucks logo and even has the same security label.

Wuxi police investigated the fake coffee, made in Guangzhou, and estimated Baiyi had so far made more than 10 million yuan of profits. Netizens were shocked by the revelation, with many saying they do not who to believe if there are fake goods in supermarkets.

055In another incident, Starbucks China discovered that four glass manufacturers were producing its distinctive cat paw-shaped limited edition coffee mugs without authorization. Jiangsu police shut down the operations last Thursday and arrested those responsible.

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