Apr 13, 2015
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Counterfeiting: US brands unite against Alibaba

Apr 13, 2015

The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) has sent a letter to the US government to demand action to be taken against the sale of counterfeit products by the Chinese site Taobao. It has referred to the "rampant proliferation" of counterfeit products on the Alibaba-owned site.


US trade authorities placed Taobao on their blacklist for many years until it was finally taken off in 2013 and 2014. It was at this point that the problem began, since Alibaba began to target American consumers at the same time. The AAFA has pointed to the Chinese site’s lack of responsiveness in addressing the problem.

"The slow pace has convinced us that Alibaba is either not capable of or interested in addressing this problem," the association’s CEO, Juanita Duggan, alleges in the letter. The AAFA intends to get Taobao back on the blacklist in order to send a strong message to online marketplaces.   

The request has even greater chances of success given that Beijing has also criticized the practices of the Chinese company. On January 28, the Chinese State Administration for Industry & Commerce published a document on its website accusing the company of failing to address the increasing sales of counterfeit products. Some 90 million dubious offers are included among its various sites. 

Alibaba, which will soon announce figures for its financial year ending in March, had generated 52.5 billion yuan in turnover ($8.4bn/£5.7bn) for its previous fiscal year. Its site Tmall alone represents 57% of China's online sales, according to Forrester.

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