Alibaba Blames Politics as Taobao Retains Place on ‘Notorious Markets’ List
Alibaba's Taobao marketplace is one of the 25 popular e-commerce sites listed by the USTR (United States Trade Representative) for counterfeiting and global piracy. It's the second year in a row Taobao has been included. TechCrunch reports the key concern of the report on Taobao is how Alibaba works with IP holders to remove counterfeit listings and prevent sales of unlicensed goods.
“A high volume of infringing products reportedly continue to be offered for sale and sold on Taobao.com, and stakeholders continue to report challenges and burdens associated with IP enforcement on the platform,” the report said. Taobao is an online marketplace that helps Alibaba reach 488 million Chinese consumers each year. The USTR acknowledged that Alibaba has taken steps to improve the situation, but noted that “important unresolved concerns remained.”
Total Retail's Take: It has been a tough couple of weeks for Alibaba. First affiliate Ant Financial’s proposed acquisition of MoneyGram collapsed due to objections from the U.S. government, now its Taobao marketplace has been targeted as a seller of counterfeit products. Alibaba responded with a “point by point rebuttal” of the section of the report focused on Taobao, and the company's Group President Michael Evans said in a blog post he believes Alibaba went above and beyond each specific concern raised by the USTR last year.
“It’s clear that no matter how much action we take and progress we make, the USTR is not actually interested in seeing tangible results. Therefore, our inclusion on its list is not an accurate representation of Alibaba’s results in protecting brands and IP, and we have no other choice but to conclude that this is a deeply flawed, biased and politicized process,” Evans said.