Mainland China is the piracy capital of the world. China’s imitation industry feeds not just its own economy, but those of other nations as well; 46 percent of the pirated goods sold in America come from China, according to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). The Quality Brands Protection Committee (QBPC), an anti-piracy body under the auspices of the China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment, claims that government statistics show that counterfeits outnumber genuine products in the Chinese market by 2 to 1. Pirated audiovisual materials occupy 95 percent of the market in large cities, and the proportion approaches 100 percent in the rural interior.
Enforcement efforts are made even more futile by popular acceptance of piracy. Rising incomes have created an enthusiasm for foreign goods and brands, but Chinese consumers have become so accustomed to cheap, pirated goods that they are unwilling to pay full prices for the real thing. Traditional Chinese moral relativism combines with a modern sense of short-term opportunity cost and self-interest to justify what everyone knows to be wrong and illegal.