Chinese masks labeled as Taiwanese found on e-commerce platform

Fake masks allegedly from China presented as being made in Taiwan on Shopee

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Chinese counterfeit masks (Facebook, KensTalking photo)

Chinese counterfeit masks (Facebook, KensTalking photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Masks from China labeled as having been made in Taiwan have emerged on e-commerce platform Shopee, another example of how the island country’s reputation for mask manufacturing is being exploited.

A blogger that goes by the handle "KensTalking" (肯腦濕人生相談室) warned in a Facebook post on Thursday (Aug. 6) that medical masks labeled as having been produced by Universal Incorporation (恒大), a Taiwan-based company enrolled in the country's “national mask team,” have surfaced on the popular shopping platform.

The boxes housing the counterfeits highlighted the masks' non-woven and melt blown fabric but failed to disclose where they were produced. In addition, the instructions were written in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters, making the origin claim even more suspicious.

Consumers left comments questioning the authenticity of the products, only to receive a reply from the seller that the masks had been purchased via a “special channel” at preferential prices, which came box-free. “The boxes were provided by the seller itself,” it said.

Asked to comment on the fishy masks, Universal Incorporation told KensTalking that they are fakes, adding that the company does not make masks in a variety of colors or children’s masks. The firm's sales manager Joyce Cheng (鄭桂枝) advised consumers to purchase products at authorized retailers, including Tin Tin Drugstore (丁丁藥局) and Cosmed (康是美).

Since medical masks are hotly sought after protective gear amid the COVID-19 crisis, frauds involving Chinese counterfeit masks presented as Taiwanese ones have been reported in the Philippines and Japan. Netizens have flagged the issue and warned against buying masks from dubious sources.