Alibaba presses on in crackdown on fake goods after suspension from anti-counterfeiting group

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 May, 2016, 9:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 May, 2016, 11:20pm

Alibaba Group will continue to crack down on counterfeit goods despite its suspension from the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition last week.

Describing counterfeiting as a “complex, industry-wide” issue, the internet giant that owns China’s biggest online shopping platform vowed to continue to work with brands, governments and industry partners in com­bating knock-offs, whether or not it was a member of the global body.

The membership suspension would “not affect the formulation and implementation of our policies”, said Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, adding that it would continue to protect the interests of international brands.

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Xu Chunming, deputy head of Shanghai University’s Intellectual Property Institute, said Alibaba faced a long fight in combating counterfeits.

“Generally speaking, Chinese citizens and companies have yet to improve their awareness in ­respecting and protecting intellectual property… and technically, there’s a difficulty for Alibaba in stopping the sale of fake goods as it serves as a platform for sellers instead of as a manufacturer or seller,” he said.

“The situation today may have not met the requirement of brands, which, understandably, hope for a completely clean land for their products. But it really takes time.”

Alibaba said it would continue to ­implement the IACC MarketSafe Expansion Programme, which helped in removing counterfeits from its retail marketplaces.

Alibaba has been trying to shed its image as a haven for cheap counterfeit brands, but its inclusion in the IACC had irked some members, who said the firm was not doing enough to address the problem in its online ­marketplaces.

Its membership was suspended just one month after the organisation created a new membership category that allowed ­Alibaba to join.

The statement said Taobao, Alibaba’s biggest website, had revised its rules on luxury brands this month as part of its efforts to fight fakes.

From May 20, luxury product sellers would be required to submit proof that goods were genuine before they could list them for sale online.

The company said it had helped police in Guangzhou seize over 6,000 items of fake Louis Vuitton products.

Seven suspects representing four groups were detained in a raid in September after police were tipped off by the luxury brand.

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Two others were detained in Dubai, where the counterfeits were to be sold, it said.

More than 60,000 items of fake China-made Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein garments were seized in Dubai as the investigation deepened.

In a separate case, Alibaba signed a memorandum of understanding with police in Putian, Fujian province, on April 28 to deepen joint efforts to clamp down on fakes in sectors including pharmaceuticals, baby products, car parts and home ­appliances.