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Alibaba insists it is committed to anti-counterfeiting
May '16
Michael Evans speaking at IACC annual meeting. Courtesy: Alizila
Michael Evans speaking at IACC annual meeting. Courtesy: Alizila
Alibaba Group President Michael Evans told members of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition in Orlando on Thursday that Alibaba aims to be a leader in the fight against counterfeit products, renewing his call for companies and industries to work together with the China-based e-commerce giant.

Because of Alibaba's size—its shopping sites have more than 400 million consumers, host tens of millions of sellers, and contain a billion individual product listings—Alibaba is uniquely positioned to help take on the global trade in fakes, a market estimated to be worth nearly $500 billion and growing, Evans said in a speech at the IACC's annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

“As the global leader in e-commerce, we have the responsibility to be the global leader in anti-counterfeiting,” Evans said. “We are 100 per cent committed to fighting this battle … We have the scale, we have the data and we have the commitment.”

The Chinese online shopping platform was kicked out of the coalition due to long-standing accusations that it has turned a blind eye to counterfeits.

Alibaba has been dogged for years by critics who called its online shopping platforms conduits for counterfeiters. Critics say it has not done nearly enough to stop the problem. At least three members of the Washington-based IACC, including board member Tiffany & Co, quit the group in protest and others threatened to leave after Alibaba was admitted as a member in April. Last week the group suspended Alibaba's membership.

But Evans said Alibaba can't wage the battle alone, said, despite the company's extensive internal programs to find and remove online listings for fakes. “We see no other path than working closely with you, the brands,” Evans said.

As the world has become more connected through the digital economy, counterfeiting operations have become larger, more sophisticated, “globally connected, well hidden and aided by technology,” he explained, requiring stakeholders to develop “collaborative and comprehensive strategies to beat them.”

“Together, using data and technology, we can make real progress,” he said.

US Ambassador to China Max Baucus, also speaking at the IACC annual meeting, urged greater coordination between governments, industries, e-commerce companies and brands. “When brand owners share information on how bad actors are trying to cheat the system, (e-commerce) platforms receive the crucial data they need enhance their internal systems,” Baucus wrote in an op-ed posted on the US Embassy in Beijing's website. “This is collaboration, and it will work,” he wrote.

In his speech, Evans explained in detail how Alibaba polices its marketplaces, how it plans to expand a key programme that enables companies large and small to get listings for infringing products taken down quickly from Alibaba websites—and how those websites can't succeed without the trust of consumers and merchants. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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