Innovation That Matters

Airport kiosk alerts customers to counterfeit products

Work & Lifestyle

According to the World Customs Organisation, counterfeit goods account for between five and seven percent of world trade. In an effort to counter the counterfeiters, Hong Kong’s government is working to facilitate efficient product authentication. In June, the region’s dominant duty-free retailer Nuance-Watson pilot-launched an authentication kiosk in its Hong Kong Airport Travelcare Express store. The kiosk allows customers to scan a product’s label and follow its supply chain history to verify authenticity. Since fake medicines are of particularly acute concern to regulators, the pilot is focusing on pharmaceutical products. The kiosk is part of a wider government initiative—BarcodePlus—which is supposed to become Hong Kong’s portal for product quality and safety information. Due for official launch next month, BarcodePlus will enable users to not only verify the authenticity of a product, but also to find information about its shelf-life, origin, ingredients and packaging. Consumers will be able to access the service online or via SMS. The ‘product life story labels’ we’ve covered in the past—from spinach to sheep—were mainly about sustainability and unearthing the softer sides of authenticity. With BarcodePlus, on the other hand, traceability is being put to work to protect consumers and profit margins. One to keep an eye on if you operate in markets flooded with knockoffs! Spotted by: Judy McRae



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