Date
20 September 2017
Billions of yuan of goods are sold on Taobao every day. While most are genuine, some are not. Photo: AFP
Billions of yuan of goods are sold on Taobao every day. While most are genuine, some are not. Photo: AFP

Alibaba battles fake goods online

Alibaba Group said it has spent US$160 million since the beginning of last year in an effort to remove counterfeit products from its e-commerce websites, the Financial Times reported.

Launching a public relations campaign Tuesday to convince critics it is taking the problem seriously, the internet giant said it employs a task force of 2,000 and 5,400 “volunteers” who police its sites for suspicious items like US$16 Calvin Klein clutches, US$90 Tiffany rings or US$8 Cath Kidston backpacks.

In this year’s third quarter, Alibaba’s retail websites sold US$90 billion in goods — nearly US$1 billion per day. 

Alibaba has long heard complaints about counterfeit goods on its websites, especially Taobao, the consumer-to-consumer platform.

Chief executive Jonathan Lu Zhaoxi told a news conference in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, counterfeiters can be identified using online tools.

“By analysing transaction data, we can trace counterfeiters who sell online,” the newspaper quoted Lu as saying.

“Through the analysis of big data, online sources of counterfeit products can be tracked offline, making it easier for enforcement authorities to do their work.” 

The firm removed more than 90 million listings of suspected counterfeit products across its e-commerce platforms between January and September, chief risk officer Polo Shao Xiaofeng told the same news conference.

Last month, Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder and chairman, blamed consumers for the plethora of fake goods online.

“If you want to buy a Rolex for 25 yuan [US$4], you can only be blamed for being too greedy,” he told an internet conference.

Taobao has been conducting checks on its third-party sellers since it was named as a “notorious market” by the US trade representative for its violations of intellectual property rights in the four years to 2011. After high-level lobbying, Alibaba was removed from the blacklist in 2012, the newspaper said.

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