Alibaba joins forces with counterfeited brands
Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba has teamed up with some of the world’s most-counterfeited brands to fight against copycats.
Collaborating with such global brands as Louis Vuitton, Samsung and Swarovski, Alibaba will provide its members with big data and other support to help them block, identify and even take down listings from its marketplaces such as Taobao and Tmall. Those two sites boast 1 billion product listings at any given time.
In return, the brands have committed to share their anti-counterfeiting data with Alibaba.
The move follows a lawsuit filed by the internet powerhouse against two vendors selling knock-off Swarovski watches from their online shopping bazaars on Taobao, claiming 1.4 million yuan (US$202,950) in losses. Taobao is the retail platform for smaller merchants.
“The most powerful weapon against counterfeiting today is data and analytics, and the only way we can win this war is to unite,” says Alibaba’s chief platform governance officer Jessie Zheng.
“Alibaba welcomes brands and other organisations to join us in what we believe is the world’s first ‘big-data anti-counterfeiting alliance’.”
Taobao was returned to the US government blacklist of “notorious markets” last month for hosting fake items, four years after Alibaba lobbied American trade officials to drop the platform from the list.
Alibaba says it is disappointed by the decision, noting it has “proactively removed more than double the number of infringing product listings than in 2015”. The company employs 2000 permanent staff and 5000 volunteers devoted to spotting fake goods.
According to the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, a nonprofit watchdog overseeing piracy concerns, China is the biggest market for knockoffs globally with handbags, footwear, watches and iPhones topping the list of most-faked items.
Louis Vuitton, Nike, Ray Ban and Rolex are among the labels that seem to be more intensely targeted by counterfeiters, says a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Domestic brands also have fallen victim. Chinese liquor maker Kweichou Moutai has confiscated 300 tonnes of fake Moutai in a three-year drive against bootleggers, whose products can feature packaging identical to genuine products.
Chinese authorities have also stepped up efforts to root out people involved in marketing fake goods, staging raids and arresting thousands of suspected offenders.