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Alibaba works to remove counterfeit electronics

December 18, 2014

AlibabaThe Chinese e-commerce company “has made great strides” in removing counterfeit electronics from its sites, but companies want it to do more.

The Street reported on how the company has regularly seen “too many counterfeit electronics” and other products on its websites, with “great strides” made towards “eliminating such items” over the past year, “especially in recent months after its IPO in the US”, but added that “not everyone is happy” with the company’s efforts.

Robert Christie, an Alibaba spokesman, stated that the company has been “pretty aggressive” about removing counterfeits from its sites, noting that “as soon as the company identifies such products, it takes them down quickly”, but many companies who’ve been affected by counterfeit versions of their products being traded on the sites note that “Alibaba still has a long way to go”, with processes to remove counterfeits “somewhat time-consuming and burdensome” for OEMs.

David Tognotti, General Counsel, General Manager and Vice President of Operations at electronics manufacturer Monster, noted that the problem “has improved significantly in recent months […] I do not find very much counterfeit Monster product anymore […] it’s as if Alibaba has turned the spigot off”, but also added that there is “always stuff that’s going to sneak through because the counterfeiters and the people who post [listings] are really good at trying to beat the system”.

Additionally, brand owners and OEMs “still largely do the policing of the sites on their own and point out counterfeit items to Alibaba, with the company needing to “provide a mechanism” that is both “simple-to-use and fast” to remove such products, and those looking to list products “should be required to provide some sort of a license deal or other proof that they’re authorised to sell those items”.

Finally, Rob Enderle, Principal Analyst at Enderle Group, noted that counterfeits may “become a regulatory issue” for Alibaba in the USA, as it could “tarnish trust” in the company as it expands beyond China, with a strong US presence needed to “assure acceptance” of its products. The US is “far more strict” on counterfeiting than China, he added, and that “showcases a clear pivot to acvoid regulatory problems in the USA”.

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