Fueled by their rising spending power and familiarity with Western film and TV characters, Chinese shoppers are stocking up on licensed entertainment merchandise such as “Minions” school bags, Mickey Mouse sweatshirts and Bart Simpson baseball caps. The fakes haven’t gone away by any means, but there’s a growing number of Chinese consumers who are willing to pay more for authentic goods. Licensed entertainment merchandise sales in China rose 30% in 2015 from the year earlier to $4.5 billion, according to the most recent figures from the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association. Merchandise sales in China are expected to top $10 billion by 2020. According to The Wall Street Journal, consumers in emerging economies tend to upgrade from knockoffs to name-brands when they have the means.
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