Counterfeits may come with low price tags, but their hidden cost is tremendous. Comprising about 10 per cent of the world's trade - and up to 80 per cent of some products trading in some Asian countries - counterfeits cause billions of dollars in losses for companies that spend years building up their brands. In industries such as pharmaceuticals, counterfeits also jeopardise the safety of consumers.
Most businesses recognise the issue but they struggle to pinpoint the problem's stage and geographical location in their distribution chain. Security solutions provider U-NICA Group advises companies on intellectual property protection and assists them in integrating security solutions into their products.
"We are helping companies to save money," says president and CEO Alfred Rutz. "If you lose 10 per cent of your revenue through counterfeiting and can reduce this loss to 2 per cent, that's a very good return on investment."
U-NICA develops its technology portfolio in collaboration with clients and European research and development (R&D) institutions. Eight out of 10 U-NICA employees are experts with extensive product security backgrounds.
Health care, electronics, food and beverage, fast-moving consumer goods and government are among the sectors that rely on U-NICA's solutions. The company's latest solutions include the scryptoTRACE, which allows consumers to distinguish fakes from originals using their smartphones.
U-NICA is positioning itself as a key player in combating the counterfeiting problem in Asia. It opened its Shanghai and Vietnam customer support centres last year and plans to establish more service hubs in Southeast Asia to enable faster response times in serving customers.
Already in talks with Fudan University, U-NICA is open to regional R&D partnerships and remains selective of its clients and technology partners.
"Companies producing high-security products for the Chinese market are trustworthy partners," Rutz says. "Together, our resources and innovation will have more implementation power in this big market."
U-NICA Group www.u-nica.com