Alibaba’s Jack Ma says fakes are better than originals

Alibaba’s Jack Ma says fakes are better than originals, by Charles Clover.

Many counterfeit goods are now of better quality than the genuine articles, Alibaba founder Jack Ma has said in comments set to infuriate luxury goods makers who accuse the Chinese ecommerce group of profiting from the sale of knock-offs.

“The problem is the fake products today are of better quality and better price than the real names,” he said during a speech on Tuesday at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou. “They are exactly the [same] factories, exactly the same raw materials but they do not use the names.”

The Chinese encouraged western countries to open factories in China, to access the Chinese market and take advantage of Chinese cheap labor. But in so doing the companies expose all their intellectual property to China. Too often the Chinese later make it difficult to continue in China, and the western company withdraws from China — leaving behind a factory and skilled workforce who know its production and plans intimately, with a brand new factory and cheaper workforce, competing against the company. How can the western companies have been so short-sighted?

Last year Kering launched a lawsuit against the Chinese ecommerce group [Alibaba], alleging that it encouraged and profited from the sale of knock-offs on its platforms.

In May, Alibaba was suspended from the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition, a watchdog for the retail industry, over similar concerns about knock-offs. …

Alibaba added that it expected to nearly double transaction volumes to more than $900bn by 2020. Mr Ma said he expected Alibaba to become the “fifth largest global economy” after Japan by 2020, measured in the company’s total transaction volume.