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Alibaba boosts fight against fakes to lure big brands

Alibaba has launched an English-language version of its fakes hotline after it signed exclusive deals with international retailers in a push to draw more global brands to its platform.

China has gained a reputation for knock-off products and Alibaba has been trying to combat the problem on its own e-commerce sites over the past year.

The latest move is an attempt to make reporting fake goods on Alibaba's e-commerce platforms – Taobao and Tmall – easier for Western firms. TaoProtect – its intellectual property reporting system – is now in English to make it easier for Western retailers to report knock-off goods to Alibaba.

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during Alibaba Group IPO, September 19, 2014.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during Alibaba Group IPO, September 19, 2014.

Alibaba has an army of volunteers as well as around 2,000 employees dedicated to finding fake goods. Earlier this year, the Chinese e-commerce giant hired around 300 people to form a specialized unit to tackle counterfeit products.

Launching an English-language anti-counterfeit platform is part of the online giant's efforts to bolster trust with global brands worried about other sellers faking their products.

The latest measure is well-timed and comes after Alibaba inked a deal with 20 global retailers including Timberland and Inditex-owned Zara and Bershka, to sell their goods exclusively via Alibaba, making the e-commerce platform the only third-party online sales platform for these brands in China.

These brands will be able to sell into China without the need for opening more bricks and mortar stores. Alibaba said its wealth of data on consumers will help these brands marketing drives.

"We want to enable brands to better connect with consumers with the help of our database of consumer insights and robust data analytics capabilities. The data-driven approach of our ecosystem sets us apart from our competition," Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, said in a statement.

The international retailer deal is a major coup for Alibaba in the Chinese e-commerce wars after rival JD.com last month said it would start selling products from U.S companies such as Converse to customers in China.

Luring international brands is a number one priority for Alibaba as it looks to expand beyond its home market. Earlier this week, the e-commerce giant appointed former top Goldman Sachs executive Michael Evans as president of the group to lead the Chinese e-commerce giant's international expansion.

"Globalization is Alibaba Group's most important strategy for the coming decades," Zhang said in a statement after the announcement.