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Alibaba has added an English complaints option to it’s IP protection system TaoProtect, which will allow foreign companies to report counterfeit goods on their Tmall and Taobao platforms. It’s one of many recent changes that the e-retail giant has put in place to facilitate their global brand expansion – and avoid lawsuits.

Kering, the owner of luxury brands including Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci, filed their second lawsuit against the Chinese internet company in May this year, claiming that they had “facilitated” the sale of fake goods. Alibaba has since invested in anti-counterfeit technology as well as reducing the maximum response time for responses to two days.

Alibaba is presenting an increasingly global face, with a slew of new brand partnerships aimed at bringing foreign products to the Chinese market. Last week, they announced an exclusive partnership with 20 apparel brands including Zara and Timberland. The new products will be sold on Tmall, which has become Alibaba’s default platform for foreign products.

Besides investment in anti-counterfeiting, Alibaba has made other symbolic moves to improve their global image. In June the company joined Google, Amazon and Ebay in banning images of the confederate flag on their platform. Alibaba recently reinforced their global push by hiring ex-Goldman Sachs banker Michael Evans to head their overseas expansion.

In Jul they added an additional 11 countries to their Tmall Global platform, including Australia, the U.S. and Britain. Each county can build a curated “pavilion,” showcasing anything from fresh food to fashion. At the same time, Alibaba entered partnerships with 26 embassies to improve marketing and promotion operations on their group-buying platform Juhuasuan. 

Alibaba is not the only retailer rushing to fulfill local appetite for foreign brands. The country’s second largest e-retailer by sales, JD.com, launched a U.S. Mall last month that will feature everything from Converse to Taylor Swift’s clothing line. JD is still some way behind Alibaba however, as they only launched their ‘JD Worldwide’ platform in April. They also partnered with Russia’s biggest online retailer, Ulmart, with an eye extend their global reach north.

Internet company NetEase also began trials for their cross-border commerce store in January this year, while Chinese logistics company SF Express launched their own platform, SF Haitao [our translation] just two days later.

The government has also expressed support for China’s burgeoning cross-border commerce trade. In June this year they released new policy guidelines that include more advantageous taxation policies with the aim of increasing domestic consumption.

At the same time, the government put pressure on Alibaba when it issued a paper earlier this year alleging that the internet company had knowingly allowed the sale of counterfeit goods. 

@CateCadell

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