Alibaba has teamed up with an anti-counterfeiting group to help small businesses remove bogus listings from its e-commerce site, Taobao, according to The Wall Street Journal. This comes after Alibaba's site was reinstated on the U.S. Trade Representative's list of global marketplaces known for pirated or counterfeit goods in December.
While Alibaba said it closed 180,000 stores and removed more than 380 million infringing product listings on Taobao over 12 months, entrepreneurs continue to find knockoffs of their products on the site.
"Why would a U.S. small- or medium-size business want to put their original creations, their entire livelihoods into the same arena where counterfeiters are ready to steal any original concept or idea?" Michel Keck, an artist who doesn't sell her work on Alibaba but has found cheaper copies of her work on Taobao, told The Wall Street Journal.
Alibaba, which is owned by billionaire Jack Ma, insists on investigating claims of counterfeit goods, a process that can take days or weeks because it says a quarter of reports turn out to be false. Platforms like eBay and Amazon automatically remove listings that are reported as problematic and say they normally believe the brands that file reports.
However, Alibaba has a greater reach than both of those companies combined. Alibaba's Chinese marketplace processed $485 billion in transactions in the 2016 fiscal year. What's more, about 10 million companies sell goods on the platforms, an Alibaba spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal.