Trends in Organized Crime

, Volume 20, Issue 3–4, pp 273–295 | Cite as

‘No banquet can do without liquor’: alcohol counterfeiting in the People’s Republic of China

  • Anqi ShenEmail author
  • Georgios A. Antonopoulos


The illegal trade in alcohol has been an empirical manifestation of organised crime with a very long history; yet, the nature of the illegal trade in alcohol has received relatively limited academic attention in recent years despite the fact that it has been linked with significant tax evasion as well as serious health problems and even deaths. The current article focuses on a specific type associated with the illegal trade in alcohol, the counterfeiting of alcohol in China. The article pays particular attention to the counterfeiting of baijiu - Chinese liquor - in mainland China. The aim of the article is to offer an account of the social organisation of the alcohol counterfeiting business in China by illustrating the counterfeiting process, the actors in the business as well as its possible embeddedness in legal practices, trades and industries. The alcohol counterfeiting business is highly reflective to the market demand and consumer needs. Alcohol counterfeiting in China is characterised primarily by independent actors many of whom are subcontracted to provide commodities and services about the counterfeiting process. The business relies on personal networks – family and extended family members, friends and acquaintances. Relationships between actors in the business are very often based on a customer-supplier relationship or a ‘business-to-business market’. The alcohol counterfeiting business in China highlights the symbiotic relationship between illegal and legal businesses.


Counterfeiting Alcohol China 



We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an early draft of this article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Sciences, Business & LawTeesside UniversityMiddlesbroughUK

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