Alibaba Group, China’s massive e-commerce firm, has announced a partnership with French high fashion label Louis Vuitton that aims to stop the sale of counterfeit luxury goods in China. The Alibaba-owned Taobao marketplace, China’s largest consumer-to-consumer online shopping outlet, is often flooded with knock-off designer goods in a country that largely turns a blind eye to their distribution. Alibaba, as a whole, handles more web transactions annually than both Amazon and Ebay combined.
“Under the agreement with Louis Vuitton, Taobao Marketplace will proactively take down product listings of suspected counterfeit goods and implement preventive measures to stop sellers from listing fake items,” said Alizila. “These measures strengthen the current system in place whereby brand owners notify Taobao of intellectual property rights-infringing items and then Taobao acts to remove them.”
Louis Vuitton, owned by LVHM Moet Hennessy, is world-famous for its distinctive brown leather bags and wallets. Due to both their popularity among celebrities and high price tags, the brand’s accessories are a prime target for bootleggers.
“Such collaboration is invaluable to us, in order to prevent the manufacture, transport and sales of counterfeit goods, online as well as off-line,” said Valerie Sonnier, Louis Vuitton’s Global Intellectual Property Director.
Earlier this year, Chinese authorities in Guiyang broke up a high-profile counterfeit goods operation that was based in a high-end hotel. Police confiscated more than 6,000 fake items worth more than 81 million yuan ($13 million).
“The store owner admitted his bags cost around 100 to 200 yuan (US$16-$32) but that he sold them for over 1,000 yuan (US$160). The bags were of high quality and most of the buyers could not tell the difference from genuine items,” reported Want China Times. “Most of the goods were counterfeits of luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Gucci.”
Last August, Alibaba signed an agreement with the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC), proving that the e-commerce giant was serious about running a legitimate business.
“If Alibaba wants to remain the top dog in China's e-commerce, maintaining credibility with consumers is crucial,” said Duncan Clark, an investment advisory firm chairman who specializes in the Internet and e-commerce, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Alibaba Group Vice President Brian Li added, “The Internet is not a place that generates [piracy] problems, but it’s a place that exposes [them].”