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Alibaba also a victim of counterfeit goods: Jack Ma

Alibaba's founder Jack Ma has said that the Chinese e-commerce giant suffers from the sale of fakes in China, and loses customers as a result of counterfeit products sold through its online marketplaces.

Responding to criticism that Alibaba's success is built on counterfeit goods in China, Jack Ma, founder of the group, recently rebutted the claim that dishonesty on the company's part would be in the interest of profit, and that it is not sufficient to let Alibaba face the country's counterfeit goods issues alone.

Improved rules upheld against fake goods makers and dishonest activities are of great need in China today, Ma told Chinese official Xinhua New Agency, according to a NetEase report published on Tuesday. He stressed how this will safeguard the development of the country's self-grown brands.

The Chinese technology giant is a victim of the sale of fakes, as one counterfeit product sold through its online marketplaces leads to the loss of at least five customers.

Since the birth of Alibaba, the company has been well aware of the need to tackle the sale of fake goods on its e-commerce marketplaces, including Taobao and Tmall. Ma said that this is a problem that any other shopping malls also have to confront, and that Alibaba never evades the issue.

Ma said the group has recently been doing two jobs: Systematically monitoring the activity of the selling of fakes, followed by the submission of clues to regulatory authorities; and at the same time, rendering help to vendors who decide not to sell fakes any more to establish their own brands.

By spending 1 billion yuan ($157.7 million) each year, Ma claimed Alibaba has deployed thousands of staff to deal with the issue and put 400 law breakers in prison. The company also relies on internet and big data to solve the problem.

"What we are proud of most today is not how many goods we sell, but the exploration and innovation we've made in terms of intellectual property protection," Ma told Xinhua News Agency. He added that Alibaba is probably one of the world's forerunners in this regard, as Amazon has sought help from Alibaba for intellectual property protection.

On October 5, the American Apparel & Footwear Association said Alibaba's e-commerce marketplace Taobao should be put back on the US government's "Notorious Market" list for allowing the sale of fakes.