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January 17, 2017updated 25 Jan 2017 3:20pm

Alibaba, Samsung and Louis Vuitton to fight fake goods with big data

Company is looking to expand beyond China and a strong anti-counterfeiting message will help.

By James Nunns

The Alibaba Group has helped create a 20 member-strong Big Data Anti Counterfeiting Alliance to help stop the sale of counterfeit products through its e-commerce platform.

The Chinese giant has faced stern criticism in the past from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) regarding the sale of counterfeit goods on its e-commerce platform.

The SAIC released a white paper in 2015 that criticised Alibaba’s policing of fake goods and suggesting that bribes may have been accepted from sellers that were looking for higher ranking. A day later the report was pulled, which Zhang Mao, head of SAIC said was due to Alibaba committing to being: “a global leader in the fight against the production and sale of counterfeit goods.”

However, that one day alone was enough to wipe $30bn off its value during the week.

The issue is a big one for Alibaba and one that the company wants to take stand against.

Earlier this year the company took unprecedented action in China by suing two vendors using its Taobao e-commerce site to sell fake Swarovski watches.

Now it is going further by teaming up with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Samsung and Mars to throw big data analytics at the problem.

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The idea is for the group to “pool resources and increase collaboration” in order to tackle the problem.


Jack Ma, Founder & Executive Chairman Alibaba.

Basically, Alibaba will be providing members of the alliance with big data and “advanced technological support in their IP enforcement work, including helping to block, screen and take down infringing listings,” said the company.

Alibaba has made its name as an e-commerce company, but that is supported by its cloud infrastructure and use of big data. The company’s expansion plans in this area rely heavily upon its access to data and technologies that it has produced in this area.

Last month the company revealed that some of these capabilities, algorithms, AI and machine learning, combined with vast amounts of data, helped it to close 417 production rackets, seize fake goods worth $207.2m and arrest 332 suspects, in a joint operation with Chinese law enforcement.

Alibaba claims that its anti-counterfeiting technologies are capable of scanning as many as 10 million product listing a day, which helped it to remove more than 380 million product listings and close 180,000 third party seller stores in 12 months ending last August.

Jessie Zheng, chief platform governance officer at Alibaba, said: “The most powerful weapon against counterfeiting today is data and analytics, and the only way we can win this war is to unite.”

Plans for the company to expand beyond China will undoubtedly be helped by teaming up with some of the world’s biggest brands will help to get them on board with what the company is doing, and prove that it can be a trusted platform to sell from.

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