THE craze for profits, encouraged by Mr Deng Xiaoping's economic reform campaign, often leaves Chinese consumers with a raw deal, the country's state-run media says. When the State Technology Supervision Administration made spot checks on 2,727 items produced by 2,131 enterprises last year, it discovered only 51.2 per cent met quality standards, Chinese newspapers reported yesterday. Of the 521 food items checked, including alcohol, meat, tea and soft drinks, 286, or 45.1 per cent, did not meet minimum standards. Among the biggest sinners were manufacturers of alcohol, who copied the bottles and labels of famous brand names to market their own imitations. Only three of the 54 bottles checked contained what they were supposed to and only one of 11 retail outlets was actually selling the real McCoy. The Economics Daily said that makers of genuine maotai, a famous spirit produced in southern China, estimated through sample surveys that 221 tonnes of fake maotai was sold in the first seven months of last year. This is three times the amount sold in the same period of 1991 and is equal to one-sixth of the total production of genuine maotai. The State Technology Supervision Administration survey also showed that the quality of meat products was low. ''Many factories use lots of starch and pigment in processing ham,'' the People's Daily reported. Of the 213 meat products checked in 18 provinces, 90 were substandard. Other fake products included jackets advertised as pure wool but containing only 39.9 per cent wool, and ''down'' coats stuffed with feathers from ducks' necks rather than the birds' underplumage. The penalties for selling fake products in China can include stiff fines and prison sentences. However, tempted by the potential for profit, many manufacturers are ignoring the rules. Factories are often able to persuade retailers to take their products, even though both sides know they are fake or sub-standard, by offering kickbacks, according to the administration.