A rare public clash has broken out between Alibaba and Chinese authorities over the authenticity of the merchandise sold on the Chinese e-commerce giant's sites, especially its popular consumer to consumer site Taobao.
In an unusually strongly worded white paper, the State Administration of Industry and Commerce said many of the products sold on Alibaba's websites were substandard, violated trademarks or were illegal. The release of the documents comes less than a week after the agency unveiled a survey that found only 37.25 percent of the goods the authorities examined on Taobao to be genuine.
After the survey, Alibaba's Taobao posted an open letter on its official social media Weibo account responding the agency's findings and questioning the sampling methods. The agency fired back with the white paper criticizing Taobao for lax internal controls. The paper was dated July 2014, showing the review had been conducted before the company's $25 billion IPO in September.
On its Weibo account, Taobao said it is also a victim.