Alibaba is improving, but must do better, say industry bodies

A consortium of trade bodies representing the luxury good and apparel sector has reiterated calls for Alibaba to make good on commitments to the clamp down on counterfeit listings on its websites.

A letter sent to the company towards the end of last month suggests that the trade bodies are losing faith with Alibaba's commitments to the anti-counterfeit fight, reports the Wall Street Journal.

It comes as the US Trade Representative (USTR) is once again debating whether to add the Chinese retail giant to its 'notorious markets' list - having stopped short of doing so last year.

The Union des Fabricants, the Asian Coalition Against Counterfeiting And Piracy, the French Federation of Leather Goods and the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry - amongst others - says Alibaba has taken positive steps but has failed to follow through on other assurances.

In particular they highlight a promise by Alibaba to optimize its software to detect "blurred images, where the offer is for a product with the logo hidden."

Listings that use blurred images are in breach of the terms and conditions of Alibaba websites such as, but the company has not yet implemented a system to automatically take them down despite pledging to do so more than a year ago, says the letter.

"Trust cannot be hostage to delay," say the trade organisations, which say that Alibaba's failings "compel us to focus on what has not improved."

While it was not a signatory of the latest letter, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has levelled similar criticisms at Alibaba in the past, saying "the systems and programmes Alibaba cites as progress are the very programmes our members have cited as being incomprehensible, difficult to use, and highly subjective."

In a statement e-mailed to China Daily, Alibaba Group said: "We appreciate its constructive tone and look forward to working closely with the brands represented by the trade groups, many of whom have already built successful online businesses on Alibaba platforms.

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