Alibaba Group will continue to crack down on counterfeit goods in a programme under the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC), the Chinese e-commerce giant said after the coalition suspended its membership last week.
Describing counterfeiting as a “complex, industry-wide” issue, the Internet giant that owns China’s biggest online shopping platform – Taobao.com – vowed to continue to work with brands, governments and industry partners in combating fakes, whether or not it was a member of the global anti-counterfeiting body.
In a statement, Alibaba said its recent membership suspension from the body “will not affect the formulation and implementation of our policies”, adding that the company will continue working to protect the interests of international brands.
Alibaba has long been pegged as a haven for cheap imitations of international brands of all stripes, including everything from high-end women’s hand bags to home appliances, apparel, car parts, baby products, consumer electronics including lithium batteries and even pharmaceuticals. Fortune Character Institute, which studies consumer consumption patterns in China, says counterfeit luxury products in the country outnumber genuine items six to one.
The inclusion of Alibaba within the IACC reportedly created unhappiness amongst a number of members, who said the Chinese company was not doing enough to prevent and remove fakes from its online platforms. As a result, Alibaba’s membership was suspended only one month after the IACC created a new membership category enabling the company to join.
Meanwhile, Alibaba said it would go on implementing the IACC MarketSafe Expansion Programme, which expedites the procedure of taking down fakes that have been identified on its Internet marketplaces.
The company added that in its view, the only way to solve the problem of counterfeit goods was through “strong industry collaboration, and we believe that intermediaries, like Alibaba, must be an integral part of the solution.”
Alibaba has said that its biggest website, Taobao.com has revised the rules on luxury brands on its platform this month as part of its efforts to fight fakes. From 20 May, luxury product sellers will be required to submit evidence to prove the goods are genuine before they can list them for sale online.
Proof required will include invoices, receipts or letters of authorisation, which will be examined and verified in three to five working days by Taobao before the products are allowed online. Serious violations will see the details of sellers passed on to commercial regulators, or police for further investigation.