Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma has written a passionate op ed piece for the Wall Street Journal, explaining his recent remarks which were interpreted as coming out in favour of counterfeiting by the press. He said; “Alibaba always stands ready to partner with brands.”
Last month, in an address to investors, Ma was reported to have said; ““The problem is that the fake products today, they make better quality, better prices than the real products, the real names. It’s not the fake products that destroy them, it’s the new business models.”
Ma has now clarified his and Alibaba’s stance as highly opposed to counterfeit goods, explaining that he’d meant to be honest about how traditional business models will fail.
“What I said last week was that these trends may challenge the business model of some established brands. That’s reality,” he said.
He added; “Counterfeit goods are absolutely unacceptable, and brands and their intellectual property must be protected. Alibaba is only interested in supporting those manufacturers who innovate and invest in their own brands. We have zero tolerance for those who rip off other people’s intellectual property.”
Ma used the piece to acknowledge that the global attention that Alibaba was receiving was part of becoming a big, public company but defended his honest reaction to the situation.
“I’ve been around long enough to know that authenticity is the only thing that sustains one’s character and maintains trust in the long run. I’m interested in telling the truth rather than glossing over difficult subjects,” he said.
Alibaba has been in the middle of a storm between high end brands and marketplaces. It hit a peak when Alibaba was granted a new special type of membership to the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition (IACC). This membership has been retracted after a series of events which saw members such as Gucci and Michael Kors quit the group.
Speaking to an expert on the side of the luxury brands, The Drum learnt that the brands didn’t believe it to be right that Alibaba should be so close to the groups dealings.