Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) chairman, Jack Ma, will not attend an anti counterfeiting conference in the US as initially reported. Ma was scheduled to speak at the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IAAC) conference but is said to have withdrawn his participation, in response to the way his company is being treated.
IAAC Suspension Move
The IAAC recently suspended a category in which Alibaba was a member. The e-commerce giant has already questioned the move, which it says does not in any way help in the fight against counterfeit goods. In his absence the company’s president, Michael Evans will make a speech on behalf of the company.
Alibaba membership into the group has been a subject of controversy among some global brands. Most of the companies have raised concerns that the company is not doing enough to tackle fakes. Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS) was the first company to withdraw its participation as a sign of resentment against Alibaba’s inclusion.
Michael Kors in an email to the coalition last month criticized the way the global anti-counterfeiting agency allowed Ma to be the keynote speaker at the upcoming event. Some IAAC members have since said they will boycott Alibaba’s speech at the meeting.
Global Brands Outrage
Gucci America and French luxury brand Long champion are some of the members that have already confirmed their absence. The mass exodus left the IAAC with no other choice but to suspend the category that Alibaba was part of.
“I am not interested in hearing Mr. Ma speak, nor anyone from Alibaba speak” about the measures it is taking to fight counterfeits, said Rob Holmes, chief executive of Cybercrime.
Alibaba has already tried to refute claims that it continues to support counterfeit goods on its online platforms. In a blog post, the Chinese company says it has a zero-tolerance towards counterfeit products. The company goes on to add that suspending the category in which it was listed as a member is a move in the wrong direction. Alibaba says it is ready to work with global brands to clamp down on the vice.