Alibaba: New annual report shows progress against piracy

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Chinese Internet giant Alibaba is taking stock of its anti-piracy measures. According to its current Platform Governance Report, Alibaba facilitated the seizure of counterfeit goods worth approximately 390 million euros in 2016, twice as much as in the previous year.

The business group attributes the rapid rise in seizures to its new proactive approach in the fight against product piracy on its sales platforms. Among other things, Alibaba actively cooperates with national authorities as part of its strategy and, according to its report, provided more than 1,180 tips to law enforcement in 2016 alone. In addition, the company directly contributed to the arrest of circa 880 suspects as well as the dismantling of more than 1,400 counterfeit manufacturing sites.

In regards to removing suspicious offers from its sales platforms, Alibaba has also grown more active and no longer relies exclusively on counterfeit complaints from trademark owners. Last year, the number of illegal product offerings proactively removed by the company was about 26 times as high as the number of suspicious offers deleted after requests from the original manufacturers. As part of its test-buy initiative, Alibaba has also purchased and checked around 84,000 products offered on its trading platforms for authenticity. In total, the company invested around 11.4 million euros in these test purchases.

In addition, Alibaba is increasingly leveraging state-of-the-art technologies, such as Big Data (we reported) and is taking legal actions against product counterfeiters, says Jessie Zheng, Chief Platform Governance Officer at Alibaba. “We are not only the operator of the largest marketplaces globally, we are also a leader in protecting IPR on ecommerce marketplaces. No other company in the world has dedicated as many resources ranging from technology, people and partnerships with brands, governments and law enforcement to fight the counterfeits.”

According to the report, the measures are showing results: customer satisfaction levels rose significantly compared to 2015 and the number of refunds due to suspicion of counterfeiting on the Alibaba sales platform Taobao, for example, fell by about 32%.

For sustainable success, however, close cooperation between all stakeholders is necessary, as the Chinese company emphasises. This also includes the Chinese legislature: “Alibaba believes that China’s laws and judicial penalties against counterfeiting must be toughened in order to deter the root of this problem,” Zheng explained.

Sources: Alibaba, Alizila, The Drum

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