May 10, 2016
Gucci withdraws from anti-counterfeiting coalition after Alibaba joins
May 10, 2016
The US subsidiary of the Italian handbag and accessories brand Gucci has decided to withdraw from the International Anti-counterfeiting Coalition (IACC), based in Washington DC, after Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba joined the organisation in April.
As reported in the official Chinese daily paper Shanghai Daily, Gucci USA has taken the decision to leave the organisation. The Italian company follows in the footsteps of Michael Kors, who left the coalition last month.
Gucci belongs to the French luxury goods group Kering, and exactly a year ago it filed a complaint against Alibaba in a New York federal court. Other Kering brands like Balenciaga have also filed against Alibaba. The Kering group companies are accusing Alibaba of promoting fake Kering brand products on its e-commerce sites, with full knowledge of their counterfeit nature, and earning money from such sales. The Chinese group has refuted the charges.
Last year, Alibaba experienced difficulties also with the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), which accused the group of authorising the sale of several counterfeit or defective products. Alibaba denied the accusation in this case too, stating that it was impossible to fight against the occurrence without help from the authorities. The two parties have nevertheless agreed that Alibaba would share its websites' transaction data with the Chinese quality control authorities. The group in fact cannot take action against a company or a private individual using its websites, without a formal complaint by a customer.
"The point is that a market for counterfeit goods does exist," explained Wang Gao, the joint Director of the Centre for the Globalisation of Chinese Companies at Shanghai's China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS). "In many cases there is a tacit agreement between seller and buyer, the latter being aware of what it is about to buy, and therefore unwilling to make a complaint." "Alibaba also has its own share of the blame, because it is aware of the situation," underlined Wang Gao, "but it does not have at its disposal all the weapons needed to control it."
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