Alibaba Group is making a commitment to address the piracy issue in China by partnering with five government and law enforcement agencies, which it hopes will create a "synergistic" online and offline system to identify and shut down counterfeiting syndicates.
In a blog post written Tuesday, Alibaba said it had partnered with China's Ministry of Public Security, State Administration for Industry & Commerce, General Administration of Quality Supervision, State Intellectual Property Office, and General Administration of Press and Publicaition. They will collaborate in areas such as reporting of criminal activity, sharing of information and professional training.
Polo Shao, chief risk officer at Alibaba Group, said the combination of big data technology with traditional law enforcement resources will make investigation and enforcement of China's intellectual property (IP) laws more effective. Alibaba Group runs China's top e-commerce platforms, including Taobao Marketplace and Alipay, the electronic payments provider.
"On e-commerce platforms, every single transaction creates a record and every piece of information about sellers of counterfeit products is traceable. Internet technology when paired with offline efforts can be used to create targeted initiatives to drive intellectual property protection as well as cut off the head of the snake in an attempt to purge society of counterfeit goods," Shao explained.
CEO Jack Ma added China's large, highly organized counterfeiting industry is a "cancer" and a "tumor in society". "This is a milestone for our business, and a milestone for the whole industry in fighting counterfeit groups," he said.
Besides the partnership with government agencies, the Chinese Internet giant has also created an internal IPR Protection and Anti-Counterfeiting task force to be led by by Jonathan Lu, the CEO-designate who will take over from Ma when the latter steps down on May 10, 2013.
The task force will provide greater oversight over intellectual property protection across all Alibaba Group platforms and help it be more effective in approaching the problem, it said.
Ma added the company would devote "considerable resources" to help up-and-coming Chinese small businesses grow and be protected from counterfeiting syndicates.
"We will not have any cap on our resources," he said. "This is a long-term effort. We want the indigenous brands to work together to protect IPR, because if you do not participate today, tomorrow you are the victims. Hopefully in 10 years, the Chinese Internet economy will be a much better place because of the efforts we have started here today."