Alibaba wants Chinese government to help curb counterfeiting

It's been too easy for counterfeiters to get away with it, the company argued in a new appeal.

Zoey Chong
Zoey Chong Reporter
Zoey is CNET's Asia News Reporter based in Singapore. She prefers variety to monotony and owns an Android mobile device, a Windows PC and Apple's MacBook Pro all at the same time. Outside of the office, she can be found binging on Korean variety shows, if not chilling out with a book at a café recommended by a friend.
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Alibaba Group

Alibaba has long been accused of housing counterfeiters, leading to its eBay-like Taobao platform regularly being blacklisted by the US. But the company sees itself as a victim, too, and wants help from the government.

The e-commerce giant made a public appeal at a Monday press conference, later published on its news website, calling for the Chinese government to "impose tougher criminal sanctions" on counterfeiters.

In the appeal, Alibaba said China's "ambiguous" counterfeiting laws were too lax for any kind of meaningful progress to occur.

Alibaba claims to have identified 4,495 leads tied to counterfeiting last year, each involving a value of goods exceeding the statutory minimum of 50,000 yuan ($7,280) for criminal investigation. However, only 1,184 cases were investigated by authorities, resulting in only 33 convictions.

"Criminals can escape any legal consequence, leaving law enforcement agents and consumers feeling helpless, and society bearing the damage," read the appeal, urging authorities to enforce stricter laws, and impose punitive penalties to deter counterfeiters.

This is not the first time that Alibaba has declared war on counterfeiters. Last year, it sued two vendors for allegedly selling fake Swarovski watches on Taobao. Alibaba also claimed to have taken down 380 million product listings and shut down 180,000 Taobao stores and 675 operators as part of its anti-counterfeiting movement last year.

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