Alibaba claims 1,400 fake production unit closures in 2016

Alibaba's fightback against those who say it is not doing enough to curb counterfeits on its platforms continues, with assertions that it was involved in enforcement operations that led to 880 arrests last year.

The company's anti-counterfeit activities resulted in the shutdown of 1,400 sites involved in the production of knock-off goods and the entire caseload involved products valued at $435m – roughly double the amount in 2015, according to a Xinhua report.

Zheng Junfang, chief platform governance officer of Alibaba, said that a key initiative in 2016 was a greater focus on cross-border trade, which resulted in some 30,000 sellers being blocked from trading on its e-commerce sites between February 2016 and the end of March.

"Traditionally, counterfeiters produce in China and sell overseas, but now they are apt to produce abroad and sell domestically," he said. The report says it is currently working with more than 18,000 brand owners on anti-counterfeit initiatives.

The group is trying to show that it is making progress in the fight against the sale of intellectual property-infringing goods on its platforms after one of these – Taobao – was once again listed by the US government as a marketplace where goods that violate IP rights are readily available and it was ejected from the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC), just months after joining, after a membership revolt.

Trying to build its reputation with brand owners, Alibaba has unveiled a raft of new initiatives, including filing lawsuits against vendors accused of using Taobao to sell fakes, developing a big data and analytics platform to identify fraudulent listings and tightening up supply chain controls.

The company's founder Jack Ma came out earlier this month telling China to do more to crack down on fakes by increasing penalties for counterfeiters. And last month an updated report from the US IP Commission that found that China (including Hong Kong) accounts for a staggering 87 per cent of counterfeit goods seized coming into the US.

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