Beijing's law enforcement agencies have banned the sale of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Givenchy and Fendi at the city's free markets.

The State General Administration for Industry and Commerce says that vendors who sell these designer names may be charged for intellectual property violation, whether or not the goods are found to be genuine.

Chinese authorities have issued the ban in response to requests from the brand owners, who say they will only provide genuine goods to authorised chain stores.

Li Dongsheng, vice director of the State General Administration for Industry and Commerce, told a news conference: "If you really want to buy those luxuries in Beijing," Li said, "you need to go to the chain stores."

He added that vendors selling luxury brands might face criminal charges for intellectual property violation.

China has faced a string of complaints from overseas designers concerning trademark violation.

In response, over the past month the Chinese government has destroyed 486 underground factories turning out fake goods, investigated 2,162 cases of trademark violations, confiscated 1.66 million fake trademarks and destroyed 667,000 counterfeit goods.