Alibaba has made its strongest call on the Chinese government to tackle counterfeits to date, with chairman Jack Ma wading in to argue that lax rules are harming the country's ability to innovate due to the reputation China now has for fakes.
He made the appeal on Chinese social media website Sina Weibo, calling on government agencies NPC and CPPCC to take the same tough approach it took five years ago to crack down on drunk driving.
“Similar to five years ago, if the debates and controversies had never happened around drunk driving, society would not have agreed on the proper legal penalties,” he said.
The reason for calling out the government, according to his post, was that detection of fraud was increasing due to technology but the penalties were not enough of a deterrent once caught.
Ma argued that it was curbing the country’s chances of leading in innovation because of its historical reputation around counterfeits.
“The damage fakes have had on China goes well beyond the impact of counterfeits themselves. Fakes wreak havoc on innovation, on hard work, on people with integrity, and hurt the future of the country.
“Counterfeiting has been rampant in China for decades, especially in rural China. Just like fighting the Battle on Shangganling Mountain, Alibaba today is fighting on the front line of the anti-counterfeiting war,” he argued.
The call from its chairman comes a week after Alibaba itself issued a call on the government for stricter penalties. It’s the latest in a stream of efforts by Alibaba to regain a better reputation for its attitude towards fkes, after it found itself back on America’s Notorious Markets list last year . It has since launched efforts, such as the Big Data Anti-Counterfeit Alliance, alongside major brands such as Samsung, Mars and Louis Vuitton.