Alibaba founder Jack Ma has triggered controversy over comments made during an investor conference. Ma had claimed that counterfeit products found on China’s largest e-commerce site were of “better quality and better price than the real names”.
The comments were viewed as an attempt to dodge responsibility over the number of counterfeit items being sold over Alibaba. The company has already come under fire for not doing enough to prevent the sale of these products; with US fashion brand Michael Kors calling it “our most dangerous and damaging adversary.”
Ma’s comments were not exactly made in support of the counterfeit industry. He was describing the practice of foreign companies using Chinese factories to produce goods; which provides these counterfeiters with the resources to operate. It is understood that the factories making products for luxury brands are the very same producing the counterfeits.
“They are exactly the same factories, exactly the same raw materials but they do not use the names,” Ma said in his speech.
He also said that these counterfeiters have always existed, it is just that they are now more visible thanks to the internet. Ma said that this situation was “inevitable” due to human nature.
Despite these comments, the Alibaba founder said that the company would be doing all it can to fight counterfeit products. Going as far as to call Alibaba the “leading fighter of the counterfeits.”
[Source: The Wall Street Journal]