Feeds

Alibaba and the thwarted thieves: Cops, bazaar to tackle China's piracy

Magic carpet of tat pulled from under counterfeiters

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The biggest e-shopping site in China - a nation considered the counterfeit capital of the world - has promised to help decapitate the "snake" of knockoff goods.

Online bazaar Alibaba will, we're told, work closely with five government and law enforcement agencies including the Ministry of Public Security and the State Intellectual Property Office.

And the web company's founder Jack Ma heralded the “milestone” partnership during his last public engagement as CEO.

Broadly speaking, Alibaba – which runs Taobao, China's eBay equivalent, and online retailer Tmall – will now share information on counterfeiters who try to sell their goods on its various platforms.

The firm already offers merchants an online reporting system which allows for the removal of infringing listings, of which there were 94 million in 2012 alone. Up until now the culprits have largely evaded capture.

“On e-commerce platforms, every single transaction creates a record, and every piece of information about sellers of counterfeit products is traceable,” said Alibaba's chief risk officer Polo Shao.

“Internet technology … when paired with offline efforts can be used to create targeted initiatives to drive intellectual property protection as well as cut off the head of the snake in an attempt to purge society of counterfeit goods.”

Alibaba said it will also form an intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and anti-counterfeiting task force, to be led by new CEO Jonathan Lu, so that it remains focused on the issue in the future.

The past year has seen something of a turnaround for the e-commerce giant, which until a few months ago was included on the United States Trade Representative (USTR) blacklist of “notorious markets” for piracy.

The USTR has since removed the firm, having seen enough to satisfy it that Alibaba is now on board with its anti-piracy goals.

It’s not clear if the initiative announced this week was done so at the behest of the Chinese government, although it has certainly been mooting tighter regulation of the e-commerce industry. Online fraudsters in the PRC apparently made off with 30 billion yuan (£3bn) in 2011.

The government has also been looking to clamp down more generally on IPR protection, beginning with a US$160 million (£102m) plan to ensure all government-owned software is properly licensed.

It’s obviously in Alibaba’s interest to keep its own house in better order too, especially if the firm eventually wants to IPO, as many say it will soon. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Government's 'Google Review' copyright rules become law
Welcome in a New Era ... of copyright litigation
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.